- (Note - For a grand tour of UFOs in old paintings, etc
see the UFOs In Art History
- on the left side of rense.com under Features. -ed)
- Italy's Old Masters were recording flying saucers and
UFOs in their paintings as far back as the 15th century, according to a
scientist in Rome.
- Roberto Volterri argues that artists dating back to 1406
included evidence of "strange objects in the sky" for later generations
to see. He says that far from being the product of the paranoid Cold War
years, UFOs were documented but overlooked because they were often extraneous
to the subject of the painting and could only be explained as "testimonials
of something seen or heard about".
- Volterri, 56, an archaeologist by training, specialises
in the measurement and analysis of metallic objects. He said he had spent
his working life in a thoroughly down-to-earth environment of cold and
rational calculation and sophisticated and precise instruments, but he
was convinced science did not have all the answers.
- "I have been fascinated by the inexplicable since
I was a boy," he said. "Scientists tend to dismiss what cannot
be rationally explained as belonging to the realm of fantasy. But it is
the job of science to examine what seems mysterious, not to dismiss it
out of hand."
- He has published a book, As the Ancient Chronicles Relate,
in which he claims to show that past generations have also wondered whether
there is life beyond that on earth.
- Perhaps the most striking example is The Madonna and
St John, attributed to Fra Filippo Lippi (1406-1469) and kept at the Palazzo
Vecchio in Florence. In it a man and a dog are clearly gazing up at a UFO-type
object behind the Virgin Mary's shoulder. No less baffling is a painting
by Masolino da Panicale (1383-1447), The Miracle of the Snow, painted in
1429 and kept at the Capodimonte Museum in Naples. "The painting shows
a real event in Rome in the second half of the fourth century AD,"
Volterri said. "But what are these strange, dark, elongated clouds
in the shape of UFOs?"
- Volterri said he had compared these with photographs
taken in 1955 in Namur, Belgium, which purport to show cigar-shaped UFOs.
By contrast, Glorification of the Eucharist, by Bonaventura Salimbeni (1567-1613),
in the church of San Lorenzo in San Pietro, at Montalcino near Siena, shows
"what looks very like a satellite such as the Russian Sputnik".
- Volterri said that in La Tebaide, by Paolo Uccello (1397-1475),
objects in the sky were identical to photographs taken of supposed UFOs
in the US in the 1950s and 6Os.
- But Martin Kemp, professor of the History of Art at Oxford
University, said the "Renaissance UFOs" had a perfectly rational
- "Many artists used their imaginations to represent
celestial or sacred powers," he said. "The objects in Masolino
da Panicale's painting were not UFOs at all but merely clouds schematised
to fit in with his perspective."
- The Times
- The Australian
- © 2002 News Limited