In this Madonna we saw the impressive
appearance of the Nibbio staring at the pea of the child,
but remarkable things appear at a deeper level of observation.
The child raises the right hand in a
standard expression of blessing. However a closer inspection
shows that the middle finger and the index are superposed
as indicated by the respective nails. Consequently the hand
has six fingers. The sixth one, in the position of the dangerous
middle finger, is very large and straight. It represents obviously
a penis, with lot of details. The interpretation is supported
by the shape of the palm underneath, that has been shaped
and plumped to simulate a scrotum. I giggled when I perceived
the situation, thinking the sacrilegious mind of Leonardo
did strike again.
But the white disk in the middle had
to be interpreted; it is thick and actually half a disk. I
finally had the right guess observing a small strip on its
left that can be interpreted as a tiny handle. The half a
disk is actually a palm knife, a very ancient instrument for
shepherds, used for opening hanging animals by running the
sharpened diameter on their skins. It is also used for castration.
The picture takes then the final meaning. Following the tradition
of Christian iconography, the martyr exposes the object and
the tools of the martyrdom. In this case the knife and the
scrotum. The knife is precisely positioned for cutting off
the balls. Leonardo had a knack for the details. And strongly
resented being impotent due to the numerous rapes by the Nibbio
and the ugly five.