If you believe what you read on the Internet, Leonardo da Vinci predicted the end of the world and that it would happen sooner than is ideal. According to various tabloid stories, the famed 15th-century polymath predicted the end of the world, hiding clues to the date inside his paintings of The Last Supper like an Easter Egg for apocalypse fans.
“There is a da Vinci code – it is just not the one made popular by Dan Brown,” Vatican researcher Sabrina Sforza Galitzia, who made the claim, said in 2010.
Galitzia, who studied da Vinci manuscripts as a researcher at the University of California, claimed that the polymath predicted the end of days would begin on March 21, 4006. According to Galitzia, da Vinci hid the message "so as not to be attacked."
What the message was precisely is unclear. Articles reference that Galatzia had solved a “mathematical and astrological” puzzle, which evidence-wise is up there with saying "Trust me, bro".
According to ScienceInfo.net, Galatzia came to the conclusion after studying a tapestry of The Last Supper based on da Vinci's sketches, given as a gift to Louis XIII of France, and elsewhere Galitzia said there were clues hidden in the window above Christ, but other than that there is not much in the way of claims to be analyzed.
Leonardo da Vinci's Visions of the End of the World
Towards the end of his life, however, da Vinci did show a fascination with apocalyptic events, drawing a number of cataclysmic scenes in a series known as Visions of the End of the World.
Scenes show fires raining down from the sky and boiling seas, while accompanying notes discuss the appearance of clouds.
"During the last years of his life Leonardo repeatedly treated the subject of a cataclysmic storm overwhelming a landscape, in both his drawings and his writings," the Royal Collection Trust explains on their website. "This obsession with death and destruction can be seen as the deeply personal expression of an artist nearing his end – an artist who had seen some of his greatest creations unfinished or destroyed before his eyes, and who had a profound sense of the impermanence of all things, even of the earth itself."
Some have suggested that drawings depicted events from da Vinci's time, such as storms and earthquakes. However, no such events have been found by historians, and notes by da Vinci on drawing The Deluge show apocalyptic scenes.
"Let the dark and gloomy air be seen buffeted by the rush of contrary winds and dense from the continued rain mingled with hail and bearing hither and thither an infinite number of branches torn from the trees and mixed with numberless leaves," his notes read. "All round may be seen venerable trees, uprooted and stripped by the fury of the winds; and fragments of mountains, already scoured bare by the torrents, falling into those torrents and choking their valleys till the swollen rivers overflow and submerge the wide lands and their inhabitants."
Martin Clayton, head of prints and drawings for The Royal Collection Trust, the work told the BBC that work shows da Vinci's awareness of the ephemeral nature of humanity, and that ultimately everything will be destroyed. Just probably not on March 21, 4006.