WALK THIS WAY
One way to identify ‘invisible’ artists in unsigned or multiple copies of paintings known as ‘Adorations’, classic nativity scenes, is to examine a figure in the lower right-hand corner. That corner is a ‘portal’ through which the artist makes eye contact with the viewer.
Sandro Botticelli – age 32 selfie Leonardo da Vinci – age 24 selfie
JUST A COUPLE OF SELFLESS ARTISTS SAYING HELLO
“It’s over here,” they’re saying. “Right this way. Mind your step, the paint isn’t dry. Welcome to my world. And since the ‘powers that be’ have declared it against the law for me to sign my name, there seems to be no infraction if I show you who I am. An oversight of authority, yes? And one that we artists have eagerly adopted as a chance to be recognized. Ingenious, no?”
THE SECRET LIFE OF PAINTINGS
In his ‘Madonna of the Rocks’, Leonardo, being more ingenious than most, literally ‘signed’ his work using actual ‘sign language’. The three signs shown in detail indicate the letters L D V. No doubt there are, as yet, many undiscovered clues in all his works.
This is why he’s ‘the man’! And why art history fascinates me. Which is why I write about sentient portraits with secrets. Paintings that refuse to stay on the canvas. Not so much traditional ghost stories because my ghost protagonists are metaphors for emotional, philosophical, and psychological, deaths. I write upbeat ghost stories that intrigue without horror and paint a future world without dystopian angst.
The ghosts in my art history mysteries invite readers to come alive. And, in the words of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, whose philosophy drove the plot of another one of my novels, ‘Disapp’earring Twice’: “It is not death that man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” No fictional characters have to die in my ‘ghost stories’. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B085SYZPGG
Who among us, says they don’t believe in ghosts but nonetheless remain afraid of them as well as dark creepy spaces? Wake up and smell the truth in fiction that puts living ghosts in true perspective. As an author of fiction ‘I wrote the book’ on make-believe pertaining to my imagined worlds. The only thing I ask of readers is to suspend reality a few pages at a time.
I asked these questions: What-if portraits by master artists were sentient? What if they were telepathic or embedded with psychic energy? What, if anything, lives on in Fine Art after 500 years? Where can we go to resolve missing provenance, deliberate false trails, ambiguous iconography, puzzles, and the confusing identities of unsigned works and forgeries? What did master artists actually paint? And more importantly, what did they purposely leave unpainted to shroud forbidden knowledge in plain sight? What clues, political sleights of misdirection, and obscure red herrings of the artist’s guild were tricks of the trade? The ghosts in my novels know.
Paintings are akin to ‘flies on a wall’ with perfect vantage points to observe human dramas unfolding beneath them. Wouldn’t it be great if they could communicate with sensitive humans and each other? My novels think so.
To me, a painted ghost is a desperate human presence in need of a gallery, a microphone, and an empathic writer with extrasensory perception. I’m looking at you ‘Mona Lisa’.