Plagiarism da Vinci or “yellow” sensation?

English historian Gavin Menzies who is famous for loud “disclosures” made a new sensational theory. As he said he had managed to disclose secrets of Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions. Moreover the historian believes that the genius of Renaissance is not the author of the majority of the inventions attributed to him.

The new Menzies theory is described in his book «1434: The Year a Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed to Italy and Ignited the Renaissance» («1434: a year when the great Chinese fleet arrived to Italy and give a start to the Renaissance»). The author gives the idea that the Renaissance owes its beginning to the Chinese expedition to Venice in 1430.

According to Menzies that year the Chinese ambassador visited Florence where he presented to the Pope Eugeny IV the Chinese encyclopedias on technique. Leonardo da Vinci copied drawings from them “having taken” the ideas of mills and flying machines. At the same time, Menzies “recognizes” Leonardo’s merits: «He drew again everything in three projections that considerably improved drawings».

The previous discovery by the historian-amateur published in the book «1421» issued in 2002 «undermined» Christopher Columbus’s authority. Menzies announced that America was discovered by the next Chinese expedition which outstripped the great Spanish seafarer for 70 years. No surprise that the overwhelming majority of scientists accepted the new theory «in bayonets». The author was charged in charlatanism what is apparently only promoted the sales of the book issued in million circulations.

Another new discovery was criticized a lot. As the historian of arts of the Oxford University Martin Kemp declared: «Menzies states that Leonardo’s drawings are copies. He is based only on the fact that they are similar to the Chinese examples. This method of research is doubtful. I will keep up with his publications but I am assured that this work will not make any revolution neither in studying of Leonardo’s work, nor in the history of technologies of the 15th century». The Professor of History of Massachusetts University Felipe Fernandez-Armesto who named «the Chinese theory» rubbish is much more categorical.

Menzies in turn accuses historians almost in joining in a conspiracy in concealing of historic facts and apparently, the rigid criticism does not confuse him at all.

Published in: on September 16, 2008 at 12:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

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