Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (15 April 1452 – 2 May 1519), more commonly Leonardo da Vinci or simply Leonardo, was an Italian polymath whose areas of interest included invention, painting, sculpting, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography.
He has been variously called the father of paleontology, ichnology, and architecture, and is widely considered one of the greatest painters of all time. Sometimes credited with the inventions of the parachute, helicopter and tank, he epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal.
Scientists have been puzzling over Leonardo da Vinci’s encrypted messages and works for five centuries. Most of his inscriptions have been deciphered and translated to many languages. But there have been some riddles scientists haven’t discovered the answers to.
Artist Armine Khachatryan, who possesses ambidexterity (the state of being equally adapted in the use of both the left and the right hand) and skill of mirror writing (writing in the direction reverse of the natural way for a given language), stated that she had unraveled da Vinci’s mysterious writings.
As a child Armine has been looking at da Vinci’s paintings’ replicas for hours and noticed details not visible to others. She had extraordinary vision which she identified as a kind of binoculars used by her to examine every detail of a given object.
Armine graduated from Armenian State Pedagogical University’s faculty of Art Education. She has been working as teacher of drawing before moving with her husband and children to Lipetsk, Russia. There she started to run a firm selling overalls, leaving no time for drawing.
In Russia she once dreamed about da Vinci telling her to resume drawing and learn mirror writing. She couldn’t stop thinking about the dream until she discovered something interesting in a book named Leonardo da Vinci, which she bought in a bookshop. On a page with images of human hearts she discovered Armenian letters in a unique style.
At home she discovered that inscriptions were written upside down. It read, “At the head of Mount Ararat in the country of Mush I heard Turks to castrate mother’s sisters”. She considered that the text was upside down because it was something he probably heard from someone.
The upside down writing may have symbolized that the text had been written by another person in front of da Vinci, which could have been used by him to indicate other’s words. She supposed that in the context of the note two hearts might represent two major volcanic cones of Mount Ararat: Greater Ararat and Little Ararat.
Researches of da Vinci’s creations stated that the “out-of-wedlock son of a legal notary and peasant Caterina was separated from his mother at the age of 5”. Missing his mother, da Vinci tried to recreate her image in most of his early paintings. At the time da Vinci have been drawing the painting of hearts the Ottoman Empire invaded Armenia. He probably was trying to tell about conflict’s horrors.
Armine decided to not tell anyone about her discovery as she thought it had been already noticed by researchers and scientists, and it was not too hard to understand the text.
Months after her discovery she watched the English Queen purchasing painting of da Vinci portraying a fetus in a womb on television. Unexpected for her, the narrator told that no one knows what’s written next to the picture. The text was clear to Armine: “I am writing in fear, far from the eyes of my mother”.
Armine decided to share her guesses with famous armenolog Nerses Mkrtchyan who agreed that texts had been written in Armenian, though she had to recreate the text as professor’s vision was not perfect.
Armine was surprised by the fact that nobody figured out da Vinci’s texts. Her relatives didn’t understand how she had managed to make out the letters. Armine explained that da Vinci has done many of his inscriptions with help of a mirror. In childhood Armine did homework, painted in front of a mirror which helped her read from any angle.
Those skills and previous experience with da Vinci’s Armenian writings helped her understand his texts without significant effort. In this manner she made out writings on the Mona Lisa portrait, one being on her forehead (“shy”) and the other in the corner of the painting (“sorry, screamer”). Da Vinci might have pinched the model to make her embarrassed and then left hints about the process of the creation of La Gioconda.
Armine thinks that da Vinci’s mother whose origin is unknown might have been related to Armenians which could explain his knowledge of Armenian. The period of life of da Vinci corresponded with the time when lot of Armenians left their land. Some of them went to Europe but kept their language and passed it to their children. Another clue about his origin might be his another writing: “I am Vachis”. Vachis in Armenian means my favorite.
Armine read about all that secrets from da Vinci’s notes. She is going to write a book about it and the only thing left is to get high quality photos of his paintings.