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The amazing real-life secrets of the #Inferno artworks


He saved the world in The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, and now Tom Hanks fights to save mankind once again in new Dan Brown thriller Inferno, trying to stay one step ahead of a mysterious riddle contained within the most famous artworks on the planet.

Indeed, one of the reasons why the Dan Brown movie series is so fascinating is because the mysteries that Professor Robert Langdon (Hanks) uncovers centre on real places and real artefacts that exist in the real world.

There are many famous real life works that play a starring role in The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons and Inferno – but who were these artworks created by, when were they created and what do they mean? Here's our bitesized guide that reveals some amazing truths about these grand artefacts.

The Vitruvian Man

Seen in: The Da Vinci Code

Created by: Leonardo da Vinci

When: Around 1490 

Where: The Vitruvian Man was found in one of Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks and now lives in the Gallerie dell'Accademia in Venice.

What is it: A pen and ink drawing that demonstrates the proportions of Man. The name Vitruvian references the Roman architect Vitruvius who wrote The Ten Books on Architecture, specifically a chapter about the Proportions of Man which inspired Leonardo da Vinci.

The riddle: The controversial blockbuster kicks off when a dead man is found in Paris' iconic Louvre splayed out in the manner of da Vinci's famous work. When Langdon is brought in to crack the mystery, a deadly conspiracy begins to be unearthed.

The Last Supper

Seen in: The Da Vinci Code

Created by: Leonardo da Vinci

When: Approximately 1495-1496

Where: The painting is located at the Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan.

What is it: A wall painting that depicts the last supper of Jesus and his disciples as told in the Bible. This very (very) famous painting is a lot bigger than you are probably imagining, measuring in at around 15 ft by 29 ft! Da Vinci also used his own technique to paint the mural, unlike the common fresco style painting.

The riddle: The most famous scene in The Da Vinci Code unfolds when Ian McKellen's academic unspools an extraordinary secret within the painting: the person to Jesus' right in fact resembles a girl and there is no Holy Grail in it, leading to yet more amazing revelations.

Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems

Seen in: Angels & Demons

Created by: Galileo Galilei

When: 1632

Where: Created in Florence and now available as a book!

What is it: A book that compares the Copernican system (the theory that the Earth orbits the Sun) to the Ptolemaic system (the theory that the universe orbits Earth). Pope Urban VIII demanded that his own arguments be represented in Galileo’s Dialogue, but when the Pope’s views were told by Simplicio (a character whose name in Italian has connotations with the word ‘simpleton’), the Pope banned the book. Pretty controversial – so no wonder Robert Langdon becomes involved with the book!

The riddle: Galilei's work plays a key part in Langdon's quest to find and remove anti-matter that threatens to destroy Vatican City on the eve that a new Pope is set to be elected. We've all had that problem, right?

Sandro Botticelli's 'The Abyss of Hell'

Seen in: Inferno

Created by: Sandro Botticelli.

When: Around 1480.

Where: Most likely created in Florence, but now the painting can be found at Biblioteca Apostolica in the Vatican City.

What is it: A pen and brush painting of the Chart of Hell that is described in Dante’s Inferno. Sandro Botticelli illustrated Dante’s Inferno (which is the next item in this list) and was particularly faithful to the text. But what role does it play in Inferno? Funny you should ask that...

The riddle: Robert wakes up in a Florence hospital with amnesia and discovers among his possessions an object called a 'Faraday Pointer'. Contained within it is the aforementioned Abyss, which in turn leads to more mysteries pointing towards a deadly virus threatening to wipe out humanity. Gulp.


Seen in: Inferno

Created by: Dante Alighieri

When: Between 1308-1320 

Where: Italy.

What is it: The first part to the epic poem Divine Comedy, which total three altogether: Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso (Hell, Purgatory and Paradise). Inferno features three beasts; a lion, a leopard and ‘she-wolf’ which symbolically represent three types of sin; self-indulgence, violence, and the maliciousness.

The riddle: Upon closer examination of the Botticelli, Robert and ally Dr. Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), herself a bit of a dab hand with Dante, notice the layers are arranged out of order – and there are also letters scattered within. What does it mean? Well that would be telling...

It's time to crack the mystery – click here to book your tickets for Inferno and let us know @Cineworld if you solved the mystery before brainy Robert Langdon did.

Nadine Shambrook is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.