I don’t know who should be more embarrassed: Dan Brown for believing this tripe, or me for enjoying it knowing how wrong it is on some level. Brown’s got a snappy prose style with short chapters and cliffhanger endings, which makes for a quick and fun read. Do NOT go into this believing the “facts.” Brown claims his art historian wife is where he gets his research. Let’s do this review Dan Brown style, shall we?
Fact: No self-respecting art historian will ever say “Da Vinci.” The man’s name is Leonardo. Vinci is where he claimed to be from. Like I am Troy of Dallas. Don’t call me “of Dallas.” It’s just stupid.
Fact: During the age of the Renaissance, the “codes” used in paintings were well-known shorthand to depict higher meanings to those who couldn’t read. There’s nothing hidden about it.
Fact: Leonardo painted St. John as an effeminate young man in another painting, not just in The Last Supper. And that is St. John, not Mary Magdalene. Leonardo was homosexual. He was brought up on charges and narrowly avoided conviction twice, and he was almost always seen with effeminate young men in tow.
Fact: In Leonardo’s time, paintings were commissioned by the Church or by the nobility. The Last Supper was commissioned by a duke for a Church. Double whammy. If there had been anything subversive in the painting, he’d have been hanged. To make certain to cover his tracks, his sketchbooks are clearly labeled for all to see.
Fact: Dan Brown’s clearly wife doesn’t know anything about art history when it comes to Leonardo. She should be ashamed for claiming to be an art historian, and Dan Brown himself should be ashamed for taking any of this at face value.
Fact: The story of this novel is based around the so-called Priory of Sion, which was admitted to be a hoax by its perpetrator in the 1970s following the release of the scandalous book Holy Blood, Holy Grail, which directly inspired this tale.
If you can get past all of the nonsense and controversy, just enjoy it for the read. It’s fun.
3 stars, for the writing style alone