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Holy Grail Found in Da Vinci’s Last Supper
Status: True (in my opinion)
Here's a bit of a mystery. I received an email from someone called Prastil who wrote, "Check this hoax out:" The site he directed me to claims that the holy grail has finally been discovered in Da Vinci's painting of the Last Supper. For centuries people have wondered why Da Vinci omitted the grail from his painting, given that the grail is one of the central elements of the Last Supper story. Its absence has spawned a variety of theories, such as the one elaborated in Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, that the holy grail was Mary Magdalene's uterus (and that the figure to the left of Jesus in the painting is Mary Magdalene). But claims that Da Vinci actually did include the grail in his painting, if you look hard enough. He concealed it as a symbol on the wall above the head of St. Bartholomew, the disciple at the extreme left. (I highlighted the cup in the image below).

It may seem a bit farfetched that after centuries someone discovered a detail in the Last Supper that no one had ever seen before, but as far as I can tell, that's the case. The man who noticed the grail in the painting was Gary Phillips, a Michigan computer programmer (and cryptologist). He was aided in his discovery by the fact that the painting was recently cleaned, revealing details previously concealed by dirt and grime. Of course, Phillips could be seeing a shape that was not intentionally placed there by Da Vinci, but once you see the cup, it seems so obvious that it's hard to believe it wasn't placed there on purpose. The legitimacy of Phillips's claim to have discovered this hidden detail is noted on a number of sites, such as's Art History blog.

Now here's where things get strange. Phillips has nothing to do with Instead, Phillips maintains a separate site called Realm of Twelve. is registered to (drumroll, please) Prastil, the same guy who emailed me telling me that the site was a hoax. Why did Prastil claim his site was a hoax? Was he trying to get me to write about his site, not thinking that I would check the domain registration? I have no idea (and I wrote about it anyway). But Phillips's discovery of the grail hidden as a symbol on the wall in The Last Supper seems real enough to me... unless there's some part of the story that I'm not clued in to. (Very possible.)
Categories: Art
Posted by Alex on Tue Sep 27, 2005
Comments (123)
More from the Hoax Museum Archives:
the woman is acctualy st john who was a homersexual man who divinci did lots of paintings for mainly his upper body in the nude but in the picture he looks like a woman because of its age and that st john was a good looking chap with a feminin side and had long curly brown hair where as maid maderline could of been there because the love of jesus should be on his right but it was st john maybe proving he had a relationship with jesus but t al remaings a mystery and a story untold
Posted by arron  in  england  on  Tue May 16, 2006  at  12:30 PM
and by the way why is everyone looking for the holy grail in the picture because it was made up by a fench man 1000 years after jesus but they was only the holy grail which carrys herbs and blood which made maderlyn used on jesus sorry to dissapoint you all
Posted by arron  in  england  on  Tue May 16, 2006  at  12:35 PM
"what i want to know is whos hand is it that has the dagger? its by the man to the left of mary..."
-- posted by Beverly

Looking at a close-up view of the painting (<a >here's one</a>, and <a >here's another</a> even closer), the knife is being held by the gray-bearded man in blue who is leaning over to whisper. He's holding it in his right hand, with his wrist bent. Why he's holding it, I don't know. This is a supper, though, so he could just have been using it to cut his food. Or, he could be intended to be Judas, who of course figuratively stabbed Jesus in the back. Or there could be some other symbolism there; maybe he's Peter, who ran around cutting off peoples' ears and things like that. I expect that when da Vinci painted this, he had a particular apostle in mind for each figure; perhaps somewhere is a record of who is supposed to be who in the painting.

". . . if you count the number of hands on this picture you get 27, there should be 26 unless one of them had 3 hands."
-- posted by Dan

As for there being an extra hand in the painting, I looked around and didn't see it. I saw 13 right hands and 13 left hands, which is what would be expected. Did you really see it yourself, or are you just repeating what you've heard somewhere?
Posted by Accipiter  on  Wed May 17, 2006  at  03:24 AM
Okay, first of all, I made a mistake earlier on. I thought that I saw 13 left hands, but one of them turned out to be a fold of a man's clothing. So I only see 12, which I marked <a >here</a>. I don't see Thomas' other hand.

Also, I looked around and found some more information on the scene depicted, also.

There also seems to be a consensus on who is who in the painting, as a description by da Vinci himself was found. A good list (plus some other information) can be found <a >here</a>. It seems that, from left to right, we have Bartholomew (in blue), James the Lesser (in pink), Andrew (in orange and dark green), Judas Iscariot (in blue and green, leaning away from Jesus and clutching a bag of money), Peter (in blue, leaning forward to talk and holding the knife), John (in blue and pink, whom some people are saying is really Mary Magdalene), Jesus, Thomas (pointing upwards), James the Greater (in yellowish brown), Phillip (in orange), Matthew (in blue), Jude (in orange), and Simon (in white).

The scene is based on John 13:21. This is the point at which Jesus announces to all twelve of the disciples that one of them is going to betray him. Now, according to the King James version, this is what's going on there: "(22)Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake. (23) Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. (24) Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake." The NIV version has it this way: "(22) His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. (23) One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. (24) Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, 'Ask him which one he means'." All the other versions I can find say roughly the same thing. So in the painting, Jesus has just made his announcement, and Peter is leaning over to talk to the disciple "whom Jesus loved", who da Vinci has listed as being John. This was after the meal was finished, so the Holy Grail (if you go by the definition of it being the cup he drank out of) would probably be sitting there on the table somewhere. If you go by the other common definition, that it was the cup that caught Jesus' blood when he was crucified, then there's no telling where it might be.</i>
Posted by Accipiter  on  Wed May 17, 2006  at  04:30 AM
This also shows where the idea of that being Mary to the left of Jesus could come from. The person there is only identified as a disciple whom Jesus loved. Based on that alone, sure, it could be Mary Magdalene, or John, or even the bartender at wherever they ate. But here's the problem with that idea: at that moment, all twelve of the male apostles listed above were at the table. It doesn't say that there was just Jesus and those twelve, of course; there could have been other people seated there (including Mary Magdalene). But those twelve men at least were there. And in the painting, there are only twelve people seated there aside from Jesus. If that really was meant to be Mary seated there, then that means that da Vinci would have had to leave out one of the other apostles. And it's not likely that the cathedral there would commission a painting that dropped one of the main, named male apostles and yet include Mary. So the people who commissioned the painting would have that person be one of the twelve apostles, and da Vinci says that it is John. So regardless of whether you believe that the Holy Grail was a cup or a woman or a giant purple fuzzy spider, that person seated there is not Mary Magdalene.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Wed May 17, 2006  at  04:33 AM
it is a woman it is jesus' daughter
Posted by fgfgf  in  gfgf  on  Wed May 17, 2006  at  07:11 AM
Trust me the hand is there. Follow my link, count properly.
Posted by Dan  on  Fri May 19, 2006  at  07:04 PM
I decided to go all out on this one since you had the i know better than you kind of thing going on, sorry if it wasnt intended

Posted by Dan  on  Fri May 19, 2006  at  07:14 PM
6 people. 13 hands.

the 4th man from the left his hand extends down beside the other hand, if you look closely, you could argue that it is him hold the knife but i say, quite an impossible way for the human hand to twist dont you think?
Posted by Dan  on  Fri May 19, 2006  at  07:29 PM
It was actually Pikachu's hand the one holding the knife because his thunder attack wasnt enough so he had to use weapons.

Also, if you go to the zoomable version of the last supper you can see in the paintings Garurumon, Goku, and Donnatello.

Oh and the Holy Grail is Hanamichi Sakuragi.

Da Vinci called me on the phone yesterday and he told me.
Posted by Juan  in  Santiago, Chile  on  Sat May 20, 2006  at  11:56 AM
Oh and I forgot...Waldo is hidden right behind Jesus.

Da Vinci told me.
Posted by Juan  in  Santiago, Chile  on  Sat May 20, 2006  at  11:58 AM
Ah, now I see where you're saying the extra hand is, Dan. You're looking at <a >this area</a> and seeing it as being <a >something like this</a>, with Peter's hand going down and some other person's arm reaching by him with the knife. I wasn't sure about that myself when I was first looking at all the hands in the painting, but after a bit I decided that it looked more like Peter was holding the knife <a > like this</a>.

Luckily, we don't have to go by guesswork on this. Da Vinci kept a lot of his papers and sketches well preserved, and among them are many of his preliminary sketches for "The Last Supper". <a >In one of them</a>, he works out how to have all the folds of fabric on Peter's arm. It also happens to show the position of Peter's arm and hand. So it is Peter holding the knife, as he rests his wrist on his hip and leans across to John (or to Mary, if that's what you want to think).
Posted by Accipiter  on  Sat May 20, 2006  at  02:54 PM
Ahhh bravo Accipiter raspberry

i dont think its mary personally, but theres alot of people who do. But he does look very "camp" lol

oh and "Juan in Santiago" that made me laugh out load, nice one.
Posted by Dan  on  Sat May 20, 2006  at  05:20 PM
*Loud :s
Posted by Dan  on  Sat May 20, 2006  at  05:21 PM
Thanks wink.
Posted by Juan  in  Santiago, Chile  on  Sun May 21, 2006  at  10:28 AM
you al suck, christianity is fake. everything in the bible is wrong...
Posted by garff  in  ny, ny  on  Tue May 30, 2006  at  01:57 PM
I think the holy grail is Mary M. It makes sense, I mean Jesus was only human. Whats wrong with him having a wife and child? I think that the bible could be wrong...why not? people twist the truth to what other people want to here all the time; so maybe it wasn't ideal for jesus to have a wife that doesn't mean he didn't! people shouldn't be so close minded, i mean where you an eye witness...i didn't think so!
Posted by lisa  in  pittsburgh, pa  on  Fri Jun 02, 2006  at  09:59 PM
I personally feel that the true "identity" of the grail should remain secret. It adds a little of the much needed mystery we need to survive this boring life. I remember being slapped on the face and lectured by the pastor at my church for hours when I suggested that Mary Magdalene and Jesus had a relationship other than teacher and follower. For me to truly find out I was correct might be very damaging at my old age. Let it rest people. Who cares. And Da Vici is allowed to have his own opinion of what or who the grail is just like Dan Brown, you and I do.... so here's a thought... What if the grail wasnt Mary Magdalene or a chalice... what if it is Jesus' pet rottweiler named Grail? The choice is yours to make. I think that is that whole point. The grail is what you want it to be.
Posted by Renee  in  Largo, Florida  on  Tue Jun 06, 2006  at  12:48 PM
I want to do further research and find more information on the following statement. Does anyone have any information to share about this person's post below. I also did a "zoom-in" and found these letters and want to know if there is anyone out there who knows anything about these letters. READ BELOW...


...It's hard to see some of the letters, and I have no idea what they could be abbreviating, but here is what I can see of them. On the left side of the leftmost tympanum, from top to bottom, is "M", "SE", and "CO", and on the right side are "MX", "AN", and "PP". In the middle tympanum is "LV", "BE", "SE", and "DV", then "[possibly A]A", "[something]S[something]", and "AN". On the far right tympanum is painted "SF", "DVX", and then finally "AN" and "BA[possibly R or P]". I could be wrong on some of those letters; many are difficult to see. They remind me of the abbreviations for the names of saints that are often shown on religious icons, though.

Posted by Accipiter in the Northern Hemisphere on Wed Apr 26, 2006 at 01:41 AM
Posted by Steven  in  St. Petersburg, FL  on  Sun Aug 06, 2006  at  06:38 AM
please look above mary magdaline or who ever it is right above her arm in the original picture on this page the large one and you will see if you look closely a little wmachine that looks exactly like the robot uupnaut and right above that there is a white box with 2 black dots on it that looks exactly like the doorway rudolph gatenbrink discovered in the queens chamber in the great pyramid. with his robot uupnaut. by the way i think the restored version was meant to take out alot of things some people didnt want people to notice . if you compare the two side by side you can see they deliberatly just smudged out most of the painting it isnt cleaned up it is covered up. enough of that SOUND TRAVELS THROUGH TIME TIME TRAVEL THROUGH SOUND. catherine
Posted by catherine higgs  in  northern california  on  Fri Aug 25, 2006  at  09:07 PM
I honestly do believe that this is truly an exciting time. in that perhaps NOW is the time that was meant to be when people would notice the art. how smart were the masters indeed to not only be able to sneak the important messages through time so that the future would be able to see it because if it were written in books it would have been destroyed along with alot of knowledge from the past that was so rudely taken from us but the really wonderful part is that it has been right in front of their faces for centurys hidden in the religious art. it. The art is speaking to us folks. its why i wrote sound travels through time and time travel through sound ,its because. we are hearing the art. how fantastic to hear the light in a starry night. vangoghs that is . you see leonardo did create a time machine and it is the art.if we listen perhaps it will tell us something we dont know. personaly I think alot of the ancient art is awakining all over the world. at exactly the time it was suppost to . there is absolutely nothing anyone can do to take that away this time . it is the most beautiful exciting thing anyone can imagine . its called mans evolution. no one can stop it now not even the catholic church or george bush. catherine
Posted by catherine higgs  in  northern california  on  Sun Aug 27, 2006  at  07:49 PM
This is just a minor thing, but notice the disciple on which the grail is on, that particular disciple has very detailed hair, compared to most, it's quite possible that it was worked on more thoroughly and so after the painting started to disintegrate it just happened to form a the cup? ... a possibility
Posted by Rahul  in  Taiwan  on  Thu Nov 23, 2006  at  06:21 AM
In all this yackin about the supposed grail on the wall, I want to know how no one has seen that Peter is holding a cell phone!
Posted by KG  in  CT  on  Wed Dec 13, 2006  at  05:49 AM
Is it just me, or has everyone failed to notice that the only person in this picture that looks like they are ready to go on a really bad trip is Peter? You remember Peter? The alleged first Pope? Judas may be left holding the bag, but Peter appears menacing. As for the disciple Jesus loved, she does appear rather feminine and round-bellied. But what is proven by Jesus' parenthood? I guess it just makes him human. Big shock. Maybe we should be trying to see men as trees, walking. Now there's a a grail story the size of say--a pyramid.
Posted by Deanna  in  Iowa  on  Mon Dec 25, 2006  at  10:40 PM
hey on the linen tablecloth there is phone cords on both sides if you look close at jesusus left hand it looks like a glass phone reciever, and what are all those boxes all over the bottom of the tablecloth . they look like phone jacks to cords and recievers and jacks on linen which is what made me think linen is a fiber and fiber optics is a phone line add a n to line and you get linen, oh no telephone poles are big crosses. i gotta go
Posted by catherine higgs  in  northern california  on  Mon Jan 22, 2007  at  12:50 AM
i found the holy grail its in antarctica
Posted by catherine higgs  in  northern california  on  Sat Mar 31, 2007  at  08:57 PM
I am not a "Code" fan. But this is really weird. Someone is saying that if you mirror the painting image and supermimpose it that you can see a knight, a baby, and other images. I instead found what appears to be a headless knight and a demonic figure with two horns rising out of the headless knight. There is also a chalice in the center on the table.
Posted by bill  in  Philly  on  Sat Jul 28, 2007  at  08:44 AM
well i didnt physically find it. if you look at antarctica on google earth, you will see it too.and youll see something else if anyone sees this could you please reply just look at the whole continent as your looking through the ice. thanks catherine
Posted by catherine higgs  in  northern california  on  Sun Jul 29, 2007  at  11:40 AM
Although I am not one to being easily sucked into silly hoaxes or conspiracy theories...I do admire the life and the work of Leonardo Da Vinci. He was a mathamatical genius..which is profoundly found in all his works of art. He was also someone that was admonished by the church for various works he created, could very well have had an ax to grind..and could be a prankster himself, to say the least. When I first saw the "Chalice" above St. Bartholomew...I looked at that particular frame of the painting from a different view. What was missing in the painting was in plain view all along, as was was the Chalice staring right at the person in plain view..not hidden at all. But look carefully just above and BEHIND the chalice...and a very familiar face is also staring right back at the viewer. Da Vinci loved to incorperate little subtle nuances in his artwork..and this one was no exception.
Posted by Don  in  Grand Rapids, Michigan  on  Sun Jul 29, 2007  at  01:02 PM
that thing is so fake look at it in this link:
Posted by Kasem Ahmed  in  New York  on  Mon Jul 30, 2007  at  07:13 PM
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