Sure, if you look hard enough you're going to see bestiality, orgies and freakishly small penises in EVERYTHING.
But in the case of classic works of art, you're often right. Yes, as much as we mock Dan Brown around here, the one thing he's right about is that old-school artists like Michelangelo and Da Vinci loved to plant little "Easter Eggs" in their work, often things that would never have made it past the censors.
#7. The Floating Brain God
Michelangelo's ode to the Book of Genesis, The Creation of Adam, has endured not only as the most famous of the Sistine Chapel panels, but also one of the single most iconic images of humanity.
Note how Adam's pose mimics God's, how mankind is framed off from the Heavens by earth and mountains, and how God and his entourage are rolling around in a gigantic, floating brain.
Wait, What the Hell?
Look closely. It turns out that the figures of God, His angels and even the soon-to-be-created Eve under His arm form a nearly perfect cross-section of the human brain.
While some might dismiss this as a coincidence, experts suggest that it would be harder to explain that this was not Michelangelo's intention. Even complex components within the brain, such as the cerebellum, optic chiasm and pituitary gland can all be found in the picture. As for that sassy green sash running down the pons/spinal column/dude-holding-God-up, it follows the path of the vertebral artery perfectly.
Along with drawing, painting, sculpting, St. Peter's Basilica building and generally being among the universe's top bananas, Michelangelo counted cadaver dissecting as a favorite way to pass the time. He was so mad about corpse-cutting, in fact, that a friend once presented him with a perfectly formed dead Moor as a gift.
So why would this immensely talented genius stick the actual shape of the human brain in the middle of what he had to know was a pretty major work? Was he cleverly suggesting that God was bestowing Adam with divine knowledge? Or was Michelangelo literally saying God was created inside the human brain? It would have been a pretty ballsy message to send while painting the Pope's house for him. Although, since body dismemberment wasn't a hugely popular hobby at the time, he probably knew this one would stay quiet for a while. Basically, it comes down to how big a dick Michelangelo was. Speaking of which ...
#6. David's Shrinkage
Michelangelo was such a sneaky pimp that this list could have been written on his clandestine hijinks alone. Like Mr. T, his David is as much a triumph of human endeavor as it is an anatomical phenomenon. The precision of the human body captured by Michelangelo has been described as nothing short of spectacular.
Note the exaggerated head and pulsing veins on the dorsum of the hands, engorged with tension. Admire the curve of the taut torso, the flexing of the thigh muscles in the right leg and the prominence of the subject's heroic pen...
Wait, What the Hell?
That's one disproportionately teeny wiener.
David's junk, which Italians affectionately refer to as his pisello, has become a bit of a running gag for the past 500 years. The statue towers over its audience at 13-feet of perfection, yet his five-inch wang (rounding up) puts him on the shorter end of the stick ... stick.
But a group of doctors have recently come in defense of the statue's tiny member. When viewed from a high angle--the view Michelangelo would have had as he chiseled away in his workshop--David has a stressed look on his face that's invisible from the ground level.
"Oh crap oh crap oh crap oh crap oh crap."
He isn't just simply striking a pose; David is facing his opponent Goliath, the Jew-baiting GIANT. Researchers made a computerized scan of the sculpture as part of their study, and found that every minute, anatomical detail shows a guy scared out of his mind, but ready to pounce like a naked-assed Tyler Durden.
Their diagnosis: The dude's weasel isn't just hilariously tiny, it's running for cover. Which physiologically speaking, is normal penis behavior when the owner of said penis is on the verge of fighting a giant.
After victory is another story.
But since nobody from the ground level could see David's knitted, worrywart brow, everyone just assumed Michelangelo was being a wiseguy. Which would make sense, because dick jokes were as common in Renaissance Florence as they are at Cracked. What doesn't make sense is why Michelangelo left David's Hebrew wang uncircumcised. But that's the subject for next week's article, "The X Most Intriguing Questions Raised by These Close-Up Pictures of Dongs."
#5. A Secret Soundtrack
All right, this is just weird as hell.
Michelangelo wasn't the only one having his sweet, sticky way with art during the Renaissance. But it really takes another genius of Michelangelo's caliber to up the sneaky ante to the next level. Enter Leonardo da Vinci.
No, he didn't pass on the secret history of the offspring of Christ through cryptograms or backwards crossword puzzle word searches or whatever. He just embedded a secret soundtrack into The Last Supper.
Wait, What the Hell?
Those tasty dinner rolls scattered in The Last Supper may be the notes of a musical arrangement.
Actually, not just the bread, but the hands of Christ and the Apostles as well. One musician found that by drawing a five line musical staff across the painting, the hands and buns seem to line up as the notes of a pretty little composition. This is assuming, of course, that the notes are read from right to left, which was how da Vinci wrote. Don't believe us? Give this a listen.
Suck it Dan Brown.
Even skeptics have acknowledged that the composition's harmony is too perfect to be a coincidence. Da Vinci was, after all, the full-on Renaissance Man embodied, and one of his many, many, many gifts was that of music.
But the madness doesn't just stop with the notes. The same guy who discovered the music also claimed the painting held clues to the rhythm of the song and the duration of each note. So, technically, the first album containing a secret message when played backwards was The Last Supper. How does that egg on your face feel, TIPPER GORE?
And you thought The White Album was clever.
#4. Spot the Ass Shenanigans
Despite many breakthroughs in art, architecture and philosophy, shit was still pretty real in Renaissance Europe. Even if you managed to survive your infancy, dodge the Black Plague, famine and the general hazards of going through life with your neighbor's feces getting dumped into your drinking water, you'd still probably be dead by age 35. It's no wonder so many Renaissance artists said, "Fuck it" and just painted Jesus and his mom.
Pieter Bruegel the Elder, however, wasn't having that cherub painting bullshit. This joker painted hardcore peasant life. And he didn't just paint a couple of people hanging out being all "medievally," he used his art to convey some pretty nasty butt-centered frolicking.
Wait, What the Hell?
Look close enough and you'll see a whole lot of ass.
Wait for it...
In Netherlandish Proverbs, Mr. Elder marries the frivolity of Where's Waldo with the batshit crazy of Salvador Dali by painting hundreds of literal interpretations of Netherlandish proverbs, which sounds boring until you realize how many of them were ass-based. The fact that they built whole proverbs around butts and all that they contain places the Dutch just behind the Asstecs in the Cracked Scale of Awesome Real or Made-up Nations poll.
So Bruegel took these phrases and painted them, and his audience would have immediately got the jokes. But they're lost on us because we don't often say things like:
"They both shit through the same hole."
Which means "They are in agreement." Obviously.
"To fall from the ox onto the ass."
Interpretation: to fall on hard times. Cute, but not as clever as:
"To shit on the world."
Which means exactly what it sounds like: To hate everything. But you know what you should do if you really hate everything? This:
"To wipe one's ass on the door."
At least that's what we do when we want to treat something lightly. Wipe our poop on it.