The Da Vinci Code book and movie are becoming more and more popular, and the Armenian Church has expressed its condemnation of the movie (is the latter the reason that Armenian artist Jivan Gasparyan did not end up playing duduk for the movie's music?).

But Armenian Church’s angry reaction to the sci-fi movie is not the only connection between Leonardo da Vinci and Armenia: if you chose to believe Da Vinci, he has been in Armenia. Moreover, according to his Notebooks, he thought, “there is no part of the earth higher” than a Mountain in Armenia (page 265). I read about Da Vinci’s connection to Armenia when I was about 13, but I do not have that book in my hand right now.

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Da Vinci's sketch of Armenian mountains and information about his travel to Armenia also has an article about Da Vinci’s relationships to the Armenian architecture. It quotes Austrian art critic Joseph Strzigowski as saying, “Italy was destined to acquaint Europe for the second time with the oriental-Aryan dome – the Renaissance was destined to recognize the essential advantage of a simple Armenian dome and for a long time to give it a place in European architecture. The Florentine cathedral built in Gothic style for decades remained without a dome – Brunelleschi managed to cover it only when he turned to Armenian style and technique.”

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Speaking of Da Vinci, the article says in his youth young Leonardo would spend much time in a cathedral that had a golden inscription, “San Miniato rex Erminiae” (Saint Minias/Minas – King of Armenia). Perhaps this was the time that Da Vinci started to think about mystical Armenia.

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The inside of the church in Italy where young Leonardo learned about Armenia (the person on the right – on Jesus Christ’s left side – is Saint Miniato, “Armenia’s King,” according to the inscription)

Recalling the book ( The Spread of Armenian Architecture and Leonardo Da Vinci's Armenian Hypothesis, in Armenian) I read many years ago, it was interesting to see Da Vinci describing an earthquake, which he claimed was the worst that ever happened in the world history.

And a last note on Mona Lisa. No, I don’t think she is Armenian (otherwise she would be cuter laugh.gif), but Da Vinci wrote to use “Armenian bole” for getting reddish black color (the Notebook, page 622).