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The Lady Speaks by W. N. Varvel stirred this reviewer’s interest as an art lover hoping to learn about the mysteries of Leonardo da Vinci’s legendary painting, Mona Lisa. Art lovers are likely to be thoroughly disappointed. This is a scholarly volume that lacks the essential list of references and an index to make it truly useable for research. Starting with the introduction, the author’s message is unclear, and he gives no explanation for events he is referring to. The text is complex, quite difficult to read or understand unless you are willing to spend hours trying to decipher what Varvel is hoping to explain.

“After six years of study and work on Leonardo da Vinci’s great masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, I also correlated directly the theme of theological gender equality to the words of Chapter 14 of the book of Zechariah in the Old Testament.”

The basic premise is theological gender equality (so women may have the right to priesthood), and the author is hoping to connect details of Mona Lisa (and other paintings and sculptures as well) to text by biblical prophet Zechariah and the geography of the old city of Jerusalem. There are many, many quotes from the book of Zechariah and just as many long quotes from other sources. He explores a connection between Michelangelo and da Vinci. His arguments for his theory are tenuous and unclear.

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