Monday, April 10, 2006

The Da Vinci Code Part 2

1. “Facts” from “The Da Vinci Code”

Wright writes” I only know well one of the buildings which features in the book, namely Westminster Abbey. All right, Brown knows where the Isaac Newton monument is. But he still makes gaffe after gaffe which could have been corrected by 10 minutes of walking around with his eyes open. The Abbey has towers, not spires. You cannot see Parliament from St James’s Park. College Garden is an extremely private place, not “a very public place” outside the Abbey’s walls (527). You cannot look out into it from the Chapter House; nor is there a “long hallway” leading to the latter, with a “heavy wooden door” at the end (529 ff.). Ten minutes’ observation by a junior research assistant could have put all this right. If Brown is so careless, and carelessly inventive, in details as easy to check as those, why should we trust him in anything else?”

2. The Priory of Sion

The Da Vinci Code states under “FACT” states: “The Prior of Sion- a European secret society founded in 1099-is a real organization. In 1975 Paris’s Bioliotheque Nationale discovered parchments known as Les Dossiers Secrets, identifying numerous members of the Priory of Sion, including Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo, and Leonardo da Vinci.”

Wright states “And when it comes, second, to the Priory of Sion, the documents which Brown, following Baigent and Leigh, cite as evidence were forgeries cooked up by three zany Frenchmen in the 1950s. They cheerfully confessed to this in a devastating television program shown on British television in February this year”

3. Secret Symbols in Da Vinci's paintings?

Wright states “And as for Brown’s theory about Da Vinci’s "Last Supper," according to which the Beloved Disciple next to Jesus is actually a woman, that he/she and Jesus are joined at the hip, that they are sitting in such a way as to display the letter V, apparently a sign of femininity, and also the letter M, for Mary, or Magdalene, or marriage, or something else, this is pure fantasy. You can take any great painting and play this kind of game with it. That’s not to say that some painters may not have implanted coded messages in their work. It would be surprising if they didn’t. But you won’t find too many serious art critics giving Brown’s reading of the painting more than a passing smile

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