Shakespeare Solved ®

Shakespeare Solved ® is a forthcoming series of novels that covers the Bard's entire life and work.

These novels solve the mysteries surrounding Shakespeare by transporting us back in time, to walk in his shoes, and see his world through his eyes.

Only when we see Shakespeare in his original historical context can we understand what his plays and poems really mean.

This blog explains some of my ideas and discoveries, to prepare for this series of novels.

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The University of Oxford's Bodleian Library & The Royal Shakespeare Company

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1. Shakespeare's Shylock Solved 2. Shakespeare's Othello Finally Identified 3. Shakespeare In Love Sequel Solved 4. The Real Romeo and Juliet 5. Shakespeare's Malvolio Solved 6. Shakespeare's Real Petruchio

Friday, December 6, 2013

Shakespeare and Leonardo da Vinci

When I was first publishing my versions of Shakespeare’s plays, I came across an article about Ron Piccirillo.

He is a graphic artist who discovered animal heads in Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

Can you see the Lion's head, the Ape's head and the Buffalo's head?

How amazing is that? An artist makes brand new discoveries about a work of art 500 years old!

I strongly recommend you take a look at Piccirillo’s website. It won’t take you long to see with your own eyes that he has made a valuable contribution to the study of not just Leonardo’s work but to Renaissance art in general.

Piccirillo makes an excellent point that other Renaissance painters were in the habit of inserting or hiding figures in the work -- faces, animals, etc. So why should da Vinci be any different?

What I find most fascinating about Piccirillo’s discovery is his discussion of the d-point.

In da Vinci’s own journals there is an illustration:

Da Vinci explained that a painting is represented in the diagram as b to a. If the letter d is the source of light, da Vinci said if you “place yourself between e and d you will get a good view” of the painting “and the more so as you approach the point d.”

Da Vinci was giving instructions on how to view his work in general, not just to the Mona Lisa. You have to see it from the d-point -- from the same angle as the source of light.

Most all of Piccirillo’s discoveries have been made by viewing da Vinci’s art from the d-point.

For example, the Mona Lisa is famous for her “enigmatic smile” -- the fact that her smile seems to be ambiguous.

Much has been written about this issue. Here is a fascinating theory, about how the cells in the retina pick up the image and can interpret her smile as a smile or a frown.

viewed from the e-point

But when you view the Mona Lisa from the d-point, you can clearly see a smile.

viewed from the d-point

Another mystery regarding the painting has been the broken, or uneven horizon line in the painting.

When viewed from the d-point, the horizon looks unbroken. The change in perspective connects the two halves of the horizon.

Piccirillo claims to have solved the identity of the Mona Lisa. Da Vinci never mentioned her in his writings. When Piccirillo put all of the evidence he had discovered together he realized that da Vinci did write about this painting. This is the face of Envy.

Is Piccirillo right?

Even if he is not entirely correct, there is so much circumstantial evidence to support his theory.

I found a funny thing. I found an argument against Piccirillo’s discoveries. It’s worth reading.

But it concludes with a verdict: “it is my opinion that these new claims are nothing more than pareidolia, cherry picking of evidence and wishful thinking.”

What I find funny is that in the Wikipedia article on pareidolia you can find a quote by da Vinci defending pareidolia!

He said that it is a device for painters: “if you look at any walls spotted with various stains or with a mixture of different kinds of stones, if you are about to invent some scene you will be able to see in it a resemblance to various different landscapes adorned with mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, plains, wide valleys, and various groups of hills. You will also be able to see divers combats and figures in quick movement, and strange expressions of faces, and outlandish costumes, and an infinite number of things which you can then reduce into separate and well conceived forms.”

Translation: da Vinci was a master of making things look like other things. 

I think Piccirillo is right. He has discovered a fresh way of seeing Leonardo da Vinci for the first time in 500 years.

It is thrilling to think that these kinds of discoveries are possible in this day and age, like the discovery of the skeletal remains of Richard III.

It's amazing that the location where to dig him up was made not by a scholar, or an academic, but by a screenwriter -- based on her intuition!

Philippa Langley, who located the grave of Richard III

This is very inspirational to me, since I am discovering so much in Shakespeare's plays that has never been found before -- like the true identity of Othello.

For some time now I have been solving his plays by trying to understand his audience -- the original Elizabeth audience in The Globe.

I have long thought that if we can understand this audience, we can understand the plays.

That is the angle at which I have looked at his plays.

This is Shakespeare's d-point. His d-point is his audience. 

His audience is the light that illuminates his work, and was his source of energy. 

Somehow, my intuition guided me to see his plays from their point of view.

When you read my versions of Hamlet, Richard III, The Merchant of Venice, and the forthcoming Othello I am confident you will agree that his plays are only understood when we understand his audience.


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