Here's a run-down of some of the frequently contested points:.
Finally, most of the theories in "The Da Vinci Code" about Jesus's relationship to Mary Magdalene, whether they had a child, the "real meaning" of the Holy Grail and the history of the Catholic church come from one source. However, many critics have raised serious questions about its accuracy. Check out the links in the next section for more information on the Louvre, "The Da Vinci Code" and other locations referenced in the book.
France has used the metric system for years, but Sophie, who has lived in France for most of her life, says the GPS dot is accurate to two feet. She makes another gaffe later when she claims that her Smart Car travels kilometers per liter of fuel, just before she says the American Embassy is only two miles away. A hundred kilometers per liter -- or miles per gallon -- is an impossible figure. Smart Cars get closer to 60 miles per gallon, or 21 kilometers per liter [ ref ].
Twenty one kilometers per liter is approximately kilometers per gallon , though, which is a real metric mix-up.
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Prev NEXT. Art and History. Image courtesy NASA. Leonardo carried the painting around with him and refused to part with it. The painting is a "well-documented collage of double entendres and playful allusions. The painting represents an androgynous person or a self-portrait of the artist. Leonardo named the painting for Egyptian deities -- fertility god Amon and fertility goddess Isis. Leonardo did keep the painting rather than give it to the person who had commissioned it. Plenty of art scholars have proposed theories about the painting and who it represents.
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However, these are all theories -- Leonardo didn't leave behind a step-by-step analysis of his intentions behind the painting. Some scholars have pointed out similarities between the "Mona Lisa" and Leonardo's self portrait. However, the widely accepted theory is that the painting depicts Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo.
Although you can blend "Amon" and "Isis" and get "Mona Lisa," there's a much simpler explanation. Alexander Pope did not deliver a eulogy at Isaac Newton's funeral, although Pope did write a poem about Newton. The Gospel of Philip was probably written in Greek, not Aramaic, although the only surviving manuscript is written in Coptic.
Approximately 50, people -- men and women -- died during the years of witch hunts, not 5 million. I'm not sure why this isn't more often acknowledged. Perhaps republicanism makes us want to talk up notebooks in public collections; perhaps internationalism makes us want to praise Italy's Codice Atlantico. More pathetically, deference to Bill Gates leads experts to collaborate in talking up the Codex Leicester, which he owns. Obviously, every letter of every word, every nuance of shading, from the hand of Leonardo is precious.
But much of Italy's Codice Atlantico is concerned with abstruse problems; many pages have no drawings or only tiny ones. The same goes for the Codex Arundel, held in the British Library. By contrast, the album at Windsor combines Leonardo's greatest scientific research - his anatomies - with an abundance of artistic designs. It is the perfect Leonardo museum, bound in a book - or it was bound in a book, until its images were mounted and displayed by curators at the Royal Collection. The Mona Lisa and the handful of Leonardo's other surviving paintings are like a mask he wore.
They are wonderful performances that play on our deepest psychological responses. Leonardo anticipated the surrealists in using raw psychic material in his art, as he explains in a note in the Vatican that recommends staring at a wall until you see images of mountains and battles. Yet they are not what he considered the core of his life's work.
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When Vasari and Sigmund Freud wrote about Leonardo, they wondered why he failed to finish paintings. The answer is that he was less interested in commissioned works than in his own quest to understand nature and humanity. It's in his manuscripts - more like scientific notes than the drawings of other artists - that you find the record of this. This is a detective story about art and war in the bloodiest period of British history.
In the 17th century, Charles I was beheaded after causing a civil war that killed multitudes of his people. Somehow, while all those people were dying, the most precious and delicate relics of the Italian Renaissance - these drawings and notes - came to Britain. I may not be a Harvard professor of religious symbology or know much about the bloodline of the Magdalene, but I do enjoy a mystery and so I set out to solve this one. And I succeeded. Final proof is elusive, always, but in this case the circumstantial evidence is so overwhelming, I think I've got my man.
I know who brought Leonardo's greatest drawings to Britain. The hunt begins in Milan, where in June this year big screens were being set up in front of the cascading gothic cathedral for people to watch one of Italy's first World Cup games. It was in Milan that Leonardo first started to make notes about everything.
Born in in Tuscany, educated as an artist in Florence, he seems to have rebelled against the life of a jobbing painter and came to Milan hoping its ambitious ruler Ludovico Sforza would pay him to think. In Florence, he left the unfinished Adoration of the Magi, a painting that tries to be about everything - architecture, history, nature. Its teeming images of horses, battles and a staircase to nowhere strain to understand the world in a way that exceeds what others expected of art.
This boundless curiosity is there in the pages and pages of notes he wrote until the end of his life, at Amboise in the Loire Vallery in , where he had moved to be painter to the French king. Leonardo's will shows his great anxiety about the posthumous fate of his illustrated writings. He never published a word, but even so believed he was writing books. He left his notebooks to his favourite pupil, Francesco Melzi, a Milanese of noble birth: Melzi is to inherit, says the will, "each and every one of the books, which the Testator now possesses".
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Melzi took the books and unbound papers back to his own city, Milan, and did his best to organise them. He showed them to interested people such as the art chronicler Vasari, and laboured to produce at least one workable book manuscript from Leonardo's notes: a Treatise on Painting, whose manuscript is now in the Vatican. A version of this was published in France in But, by then, Melzi was long dead, and Leonardo's notebooks were on their complicated journey around Europe. Melzi's heirs in Milan did not understand the peculiar documents they had inherited; they let the notes rot, allowed visitors to take them away wholesale.
Eventually, the Italian sculptor Pompeo Leoni got his hands on huge quantities of Leonardo's drawings and notes, and bound them into leather volumes. By , the most significant of Leoni's albums was in the hands of the British monarchy.
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How did such a precious volume get to Britain without being noticed? Why wasn't its arrival recorded? How did it survive? And the underlying mystery - why were the puritanical British, whose island was regarded by Renaissance Italians as an obscure barbarian land, even interested in it? The answer to that last question is not hard to find in London. This and other surviving islands of Baroque London are proof enough that the British court was acutely interested in art and architecture in the early 17th century.
Charles I imported the Catholic splendour of the Baroque to Britain - he was portrayed in marble by the Pope's personal artist Bernini, and employed court artists such as Rubens and Van Dyck, as well as the Italians Artemisia Gentileschi and her father Orazio. When Charles was still prince, he visited Madrid in a daring undercover mission to make a political marriage. He didn't get married in the end, but he did see a lot of art, and cheekily asked for Titians as presents.
It's surprising how political this all is, four centuries on.
Royalists make such a fuss about Charles as a tasteful, sensitive soul - ignoring evidence that he was a stupid, dogmatic, inadequate man who brought his people to civil war; a backlash against him was inevitable. Jerry Brotton's book The Sale of the Late King's Goods, published this year, sees Charles I's art collecting far more sceptically, as a story of deals and negotiations with no love at its heart. But as far as I can see, from looking at paintings such as Moses in the Bulrushes by Orazio Gentileschi, and still more at his daughter Artemisia's Self-Portrait as the Muse of Painting, Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria presided over a court that rivalled the artistic excellence of continental capitals.
Bare-shouldered with an enigmatic smile, pointing up at heaven - in fact his vertical finger caresses a cross so dark you don't immediately see it in the shadows - Leonardo's Baptist seems more profane than sacred. To the Protestants responsible for the fate of Charles' art collection after his beheading, its sexual quality can only have added to its repellent papism.
It was sold abroad and ended up back in the French royal collection.