It's a strange and rather campy review, but even The New Republic is not taken with The Da Vinci Code:
Brown's best-known assertions [about Jesus and Mary Magdalene] have to do with Leonardo's Last Supper. Through the conversations of his characters (who exist more to spout instructive "facts" than to converse), Brown identifies the figure to the right of Jesus (the figure to our left) in this great, ruined fresco as Mary Magdalene, who is, according to his own claims, the wife of Christ. On the basis of this assertion, Brown claims that Jesus and his consort spell out a gigantic M with their arms and bodies. The V-shape of the space between them is presumed to refer to Mary Magdalene's womb, the figurative chalice that is the real Holy Grail, and the prime example in Western tradition of the sacred feminine.
The problem with this ad hoc iconography is that readers of The Da Vinci Code may come to believe that by accepting the conventionally flimsy premises of a thriller plot, they have learned something about Leonardo and his art. Brown encourages this delusion by professing at the beginning of his book that what he says is true. But in this claim, as in the rest of his narrative, he is writing fiction. As the Bible makes plain, Leonardo's blond bombshell is a man, the "Beloved Disciple" who has been resting in his Lord's bosom, identified by immemorial Christian tradition as the apostle John. Leonardo's portrayal of the Beloved Disciple as an attractive young blond fits right into the conventions of every other Last Supper painted in Italy in his generation.
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