7 Details We Never Noticed in Famous Paintings

Artists often leave special messages in their works. But we are used to looking at the paintings as a whole, without paying attention to seemingly insignificant details.

We found 7 famous canvases that are not as simple as they first seem.

Hidden Details In Famous Paintings

7. The Whale That Wasn’t

7 Details We Never Noticed in Famous Paintings
© wikimedia© wikimedia

This very modest landscape has hidden the truth for 150 years. A restorer, cleaning the surface of the image, found in it a painted whale, washed up on the shore

The artist Hendrick van Anthonissen decided to paint over it, thinking that work without a dead animal would be more popular with the public.

6. The Da Vinci Code

7 Details We Never Noticed in Famous Paintings
© pixabay

Members of the Italian National Cultural Heritage Committee found the letters “LV” in the Mona Lisa’s right eye.

They could indicate the name of the artist, Leonardo da Vinci. Another discovery is the symbols on the bridge, which appear to be number 72.

The bridge (destroyed in 1472) behind the woman’s left shoulder is believed to be located in the Italian city of Bobbio. Perhaps this way Leonardo wanted to hint at the setting.

5. Man Or Woman?

7 Details We Never Noticed in Famous Paintings
© wikipedia

For a long time, the person in this Caravaggio painting was considered a woman. Only in the early 20th century did art critics see a young man in the lute player

A few signs indicate this: the notes are the bass part of Jacques Arcadelt’s “You know that I love and adore you”, as well as the lute and the violin, considered male instruments in the days of Caravaggio.

4. Persephone And Hades

7 Details We Never Noticed in Famous Paintings
© wikimedia

Take a look at this brooch: it shows Persephone, the Greek goddess of the harvest and the queen of the underworld.

According to legend, Persephone was kidnapped by Hades, and the gallows in the farmer’s hands are like Hades’ trident.

Grant Wood laid out many details: for example, stitching on the man’s denim overalls, the stripes on his shirt, the window frames, and even the plant in the background imitate the shape of the pitchfork.

3. A Fig Sign To The Pope

7 Details We Never Noticed in Famous Paintings
© wikimedia

The conflict between Pope Julius II and Michelangelo led to the fact that one of the angels near the prophet Zacharias, on the mural of the Sistine Chapel (the prophet was based on Julius II), folded his fingers in a fig sign. This gesture was considered indecent, so people got the hint.

2. A Face In A Jug

7 Details We Never Noticed in Famous Paintings
© wikipedia© wikimedia

Bacchus, one of Caravaggio’s most famous paintings, seems quite common, but a group of experts managed to see something peculiar inside the wine jug: a miniature self-portrait of the artist.

1. Lady Without an Ermine

7 Details We Never Noticed in Famous Paintings
© wikimedia

In the original version of the famous painting Lady With an Ermine, there was no ermine. Leonardo da Vinci drew the gray animal and the blue cover later.

For the final version, he even enlarged the animal and colored it white. The lady in the photo is supposed to be the mistress of Duke Ludovico Sforza, and he himself is portrayed as an ermine. This animal was the symbol of Sforza’s house.


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