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Did Leonardo da Vinci Really Paint the Mona Lisa?

3 comments | 12:00 pm | top |
Did Leonardo da Vinci really paint the Mona Lisa? Of course he painted it you’ll say. But how can you be sure that it was Leonardo who painted this most famous of all masterpiece artworks? I have another idea of how the Mona Lisa came into being…

At the time when Leonardo a young apprentice in Florence, in an abandoned attic just above the apprentices dormitory, an almost used up roll of canvas that was leaning on the wall toppled over. This was probably due to a scuffle between the boys in the room below which shook the old building a little. Amazingly, the roll of canvas fell onto a canvas stretching frame, which had been left there.

Several weeks later, during another rowdy pillow-fight between the apprentices, the roll of canvas rolled off the wooden frame and onto the floor, leaving just enough canvas covering the frame. Some days after this, An earthquake shook Florence and a wooden box of staples fell onto one side of the canvas covered frame, causing the frame to turn over onto its front, with the canvas underneath. When the box of staples hit the floor, thousands of staples flew up into the air as the box smashed. Inconceivably, just the right number of staples fell around the sides of the frame – a gust of wind from under the door had folded the canvas up around the sides of the frame, and the staples all fell into just the right places and stuck themselves into the frame, pinning the canvas down – just the way the maestro of the guild would have if he had been doing it.

Several years passed, and Leonardo grew up, increasing in his skills, and beginning to get the attention of the maestro due to the talent he displayed.

One day, back up in the attic, as some builders were setting up scaffolds next door, several small bottles of powdered colouring fell to the floor, from the shelf above the now prepared canvas. As they fell, they knocked over an old board that was leaning against the wall, and this in turn, as it fell, smashed an urn of painter’s oil, making it run all over the floor, and underneath the painting.

As the builders next door continued their work, the vibration caused the oil and the colour powders to combine. As the new paint, of all different colours seeped underneath the framed canvas, it merged with other colours.

Two weeks later, as the scaffolding was being taken down, one of the builders was careless, and half of the scaffolding collapsed to the ground, creating a terrific noise, and shaking the buildings around it. This was enough for the heavy paperweight up on the shelf in the attic to come falling down, and again, striking the painting on one side, and causing it to flip up and lean against the wall.

It was a good year after this that, when Leonardo was one day sent up to the attic to give it a clean out, by his master, that he found the painting. It was beautiful! Realising that the maestro didn’t even know it existed, after he had tidied up the attic, Leonardo hid the masterpiece between two sheets of faded paper, and hid it at the back of the cupboard he and his fellow apprentices shared.

For many years, Leonardo kept his painting hidden, until, three years after starting up his own painting business, he took it carefully from on top of the book-case in his study, and hung it on his wall…

By now, you’ll be convinced that I am absolutely mad. How could so many coincidental and seemingly impossible things all happen in the right order, at the right time, and to the right thing, ending in the most valuable, famous, and arguably the best masterpiece in the world?

And you would be right.

Because, by asking you to believe this preposterous story, I am insulting your intellect and supposing that you have no intelligence.

You may have seen the Mona Lisa in the Louvre in Paris. Or perhaps you’ve seen it in a book. There is a copy of the painting on the front of this booklet. Looking at it, how do you know that there was a painter? How do you know that it didn’t happen accidentally, but that someone – Leonardo da Vinci did in-fact paint it?

Its simple isn’t it? When you look at a painting – any painting, you know it didn’t just “happen”, but that there must have been a painter. In the same way, when you see a building, how do you know that there was a builder? The building itself is proof.

Have you ever had a good look around you – at the World? Have you looked closely at a leaf, or a flower? What about a simple daisy? The little daisies that grow on your lawn, white petals and a yellow center. Did you know that each “petal” is actually a separate flower? The detail and perfection is staggering. The design is flawless and outstanding. How could you look at it and tell yourself that its existence is accidental and coincidental.

Or the human eye? A sparrow, whose tiny heart is strong enough to power its wings to fly? Daffodils which lie dormant all winter, hibernating, and then in the Spring, pushing shoots through the ground, followed by a detailed, delicate bunch of golden petals?

You cannot look around at the creatures and creation, without wondering at least, how it came into being, or how it is able to continue – how the geese in Canada know where to fly before the Winter comes.

We all know that the World must have been created. In the same way that we have no doubt that the Mona Lisa was painted by a painter, we know that the world was created by a creator. For me or you to suggest that the World did come about by accident, with no design – evolution, is obviously ludicrous.

painting            painter
building            builder
creation            creator

So the question we have to ask now is: Who was the creator?

In the very first sentence in the Bible, in Genesis chapter one, verse one, we read that “In the beginning God created the heavens (sky) and the earth”. Here we see that it was God who created the World. God existed before the World was created – he designed and maintains His creation. He even designed you. When God made the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, they were perfect and sinless. It was only after they broke God’s law that sin entered the World (we call this the Fall). Since then, everyone who has been born is sinful by nature.

Shortly after Adam and Eve sinned, God gave his law, the Ten Commandments to humans. These ten rules are the guidelines that God gives us to live by. We are all required to keep these commandments. Unfortunately, due to our sinful hearts, resulting from the Fall, none of us, neither you, nor me, nor any of us can completely keep God’s law perfectly.

God, being just and perfect, cannot stand sin and so requires that we be punished for breaking his ten commandments. Is this fair you may ask? Yes, it is fair, because, since God created us, He decides what happens to us.

“But I’m not a bad person, I’ve never killed anyone – I’m actually not that bad – God wouldn’t send me to Hell”. Let’s do a quick test and look at a few of the Ten Commandments.

The third commandment says “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain”. Have you ever used God’s or Jesus’s name as a swear-word?

And the sixth commandment says “You shall not murder”. The Bible says that whoever hates his brother has committed the equivalent of murder in God’s eyes.

The seventh commandment reads: “You shall not commit adultery”. Jesus said that whoever looks at a woman to lust after her, has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Have you ever looked with lust?

The eighth commandment says: “You shall not steal”. Have you ever stolen anything? Anything at all, regardless of value.

None of us can say that we have kept God's law.  The Bible says: “There is none who does good, - no not one”. This means, that though we may do good deeds, for instance, you may work hard, give to charity and try to be a good person, but we are all still sinners. All of us have broken God’s law, and so we are all deserving God’s punishment which is to send us to Hell for eternity – for ever and ever.

“Oh, but I don’t believe in Heaven and Hell”, you say. What if I was going to walk off the top of a six story building? What could possibly happen to me? I can’t see gravity, therefore what could go wrong? Just because you can’t see Heaven or Hell, or God, doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

There is a way out. Just over 2000 years ago, God sent His son, Jesus into the world as a baby. He grew into a man, never sinning, and lived a perfect life. He was then crucified at the age of thirty-three – but not because of anything He had done wrong.

John 3:16 says: “God so loved the World that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

It is as simple as that. Believe in Jesus Christ, and that His death on the cross paid for your sins, and you will be saved! This is excellent news - that when God looks at you on judgement day, he won’t see a sinful person who has broken his Ten Commandments. Rather He will see the perfect life of Christ - and allow you into Heaven.

You may still be skeptical.

Hell is a reality and all of us have to be prepared for the Day of Judgment, when God will judge everyone in the World according to His Ten Commandments. Just think - what if you are wrong - you may not accept that God does exist - maybe you think Christianity is all based on an outdated book. Or perhaps you simply say you “don’t care”. But what if you are wrong? What are you going to have to say to God when He judges you? You’ll have nothing to say in your defense, and so will have to suffer the eternal punishment that will rightfully be yours. It is up to all of us in this life to get right with God, and turn our lives round, to serve Him.

Get hold of a Bible and read it daily. The book of John in the New Testament would be good to start with. And the New King James version of the Bible would be preferable.

Pray. It is important to pray to God. Initially, you must ask the Lord Jesus to come into your heart, repent whole-heartedly of your sins and trust in Him for your salvation. Then you have to actually live like a Christian, fighting the temptations that are around.  Here's how Jesus suggested that we should pray, it's just a model that we can base our own prayers around.

Above all, be thankful to Jesus for His death on the cross for you, and everyone who does trust in Him and then you too, will want to tell others of that salvation that can be theirs.

I wrote this as an idea for a Gospel tract back in 2005. Made a couple of small changes and have re-published it here.  Check out for lots more information and help. Thanks to Ray Comfort for the inspiration for this booklet.

Update (3/8/08): Rick Responds, "Andy's Creation Myth"

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Anonymous Rick said...

What a crock!

The crucial keystone in your reasoning here is that every object is an artifact; the universe is "Creation". In other words, that god exists and runs the show.

That is begging the question, circular reasoning. You seek to explain that there is a creator by reference to the fact that everything is a creation!

Repairs avaliable here

2:34 pm, August 03, 2008 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey rick: which one is circular reasoning:
- materialist assumptions --> materialist conclusion
- open mind --> perhaps there IS a Creator

but unfortunately you are addicted to atheism.

5:41 pm, August 08, 2008 
Blogger Andy Moore said...

I see what you're saying Rick, but Ropata is right. We all need to have a starting point for our worldview, otherwise we have nothing.

10:22 pm, August 08, 2008 

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