Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code has been thoroughly debunked as being nothing but a “beach book” with no basis in reality (despite Brown's claims of a scholarly pedigree). Brown’s become something of a joke to actual art history scholars, mainly because he made the general public start thinking there were mysterious codes and symbols in Renaissance art—and hidden meaning in art in general—when there largely isn’t. There’s no doubt, of course, that artists use symbolism in their work and have for centuries, but it’s not the coded biblical messages and prophesies that a lot of people think.
There are, however, other examples of hidden meanings, messages, and “Easter eggs” in Renaissance art that are pretty damn cool, even if they don’t tell us when the world will end or where the treasure is hidden. Read on for some of the coolest—and totally legit—examples of secrets hidden in Renaissance art.
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Michelangelo: Zechariah (1508-1512)
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Benvenuto Cellini: Perseus with the Head of Medusa (1545)
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