Wednesday, August 04, 2004

The Da Vinci Cold 

New Book Reveals Secret of Last Supper Sneeze

NEW YORK (Ant Farmer's Almanac Newswire) A stunning new art historical thriller, entitled The Da Vinci Cold, claims that the decay of Leonardo Da Vinci's classic fresco "The Last Supper" was caused by the artist's own germs when he sneezed all over the still damp pigment.

Forensic art historians have spent years studying the patterns of deterioration of the famous picture — painted in tempra directly onto the plaster wall of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan, in 1498 — and have determined that only someone of exactly Da Vinci's height and standing within arm's length of the wall at a crucial early phase of the work could have created the arcing spray pattern of what is now nearly 500 years' worth of disintegration of the colors and imagery on this icon of Renaissance art.

Scholars have argued for centuries about whether an apprentice to Da Vinci or perhaps the convent's Mother Superior had been the one with the head cold and that the Catholic Church was covering up this fact. Scholars, apparently, have lots of time on their hands. That the church refused to comment about the source of the sneeze — or even confirm there had been a sneeze at all — has only fed curiosity and fueled speculation.

The book's publisher will neither confirm or deny the swirl of rumors that it reveals DNA test results proving that the traces of phlegm embedded in the robes on the figures of Matthew, Mark, parts of Luke and the tablecloth are, in fact, from the master himself.

Plans for the movie rights have yet to be announced.

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