Can mysterious UFOs be seen in historical art?
August 31, 2019
There are a lot of untold stories in the backgrounds of these paintings.
THE CLIMATE AT STEPHEN F. AUSTIN STATE COLLEGE was an eerie one in the year 1967-1968. There were sit-ins, moratoriums, bomb threats that required dorm evacuations in the middle of the night, less ominous panty raids. There was a rumor that Jeane Dixon, famed psychic, had predicted a series of axe murders at a college in the South. The fact that the SFASC mascots were known as The Lumberjacks, with some of the school spirit designs depicting burly lumberjacks carrying axes did not help ease tensions. Co-eds used the buddy system like they never had before.
Sara and Sandy often walked to and from the dorm together as they had many of the same art courses. Mr. Arscott was one of their favorite professors, and they had him for Survey of Art History both I and II. He knew his stuff, was entertaining in his presentation, and if a person fell asleep in his class—the lights were out because he was showing slides—he often would go up and kick that person’s desk, or make a loud noise that rudely awakened them. The whole class would hoot.
“I love art history, but I sure get sick of memorizing all of the facts for tests,” Sara said to her buddy, Sandy, on the way back to their dorm.
“Yeah, like ‘what did Michelangelo have for breakfast on the day he finished David?’” Sandy mused aloud.
“Exactly what time of the day was it when he painted the last stroke on Adam’s hand, in the fresco of Adam and God in the Sistine Chapel?” Sara asked facetiously. “My art history notes are hilarious. The lights are out so we can see the slides, but we can’t really see what we are writing. I am frantically sketching the images, vaguely, so I can identify it in the book later, then, I try to write down as many facts as I can. When I look at the notes later, the writing isn’t even on the lines. Some of it is going uphill, some downhill, and some of it, I have written on top of the sketch, itself.”
“I do love it, though. I love learning about the artists’ lives, their techniques, their crude art substances. I love learning about the moral climate of the times they lived in and how it influenced their work,” Sandy said back.
“Me too, and I have always got my eyes open for unusual things in the backgrounds of paintings. Some of the things I have seen are very mysterious, and Mr. Arscott only has time to barely mention them, but I find them fascinating,” Sara explained.
“Like what?” Sandy was more than curious.
“There are a lot of untold stories in the backgrounds of these paintings. Let’s go sit on that bench a minute. I want to show you something that will really freak you out.” Sara motioned her friend over.
Sandy looked at the examples in Sara’s art history notebook. There were three pages with the corners turned down that Sara wanted her to see.
“You can’t tell much from my messy drawings,” Sara explained, “but look these up in your art history textbook when you get back to your dorm room and you will see what I mean. It will blow your mind, I promise. There are definitely images in these artworks that look like UFOs or something similar.”
Sandy squinted her eyes as she examined Sara’s sketches.
“In this painting, Madonna With St. Giovannino by Ghirlandaio, 15th century, there is an unknown oval object in the sky, in the background and if you look closely you can see a teeny tiny figure on the ground, shielding his eyes and looking up at it.” Sara gestured at her scribbles. “A dog is at his side.”
“In this fresco, I believe it is The Crucifixion, Yugoslavian, 1350, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, there is clearly an aircraft with a pilot, in the sky—and the aircraft is leaving an emission trail behind it.”
“Oh my gosh!”
“And look, this beautiful medieval tapestry has what clearly looks like a flying saucer in it. It is called Summer’s Triumph, 1538, created in Bruges, Belgium. These are the three I have been studying lately, but there are many, many more. I have been going over our whole art history book with a magnifying glass, just looking at backgrounds and what is unusual in them.”
“This is fascinating. Are you making a list of the others you find? I can’t wait to go look these up!” Sandy exclaimed.
“Yes, I am. I will give you a copy of my personal list, ‘UFOs in Classic Artworks.’”
Sara’s list was lengthy, but high on the list were: The Annunciation of St. Emidus, Crivelli, 1486, The Glorification of the Eucharist, Salembini, 1600, La Tebaide, 1465, by Uccello, The Baptism of Christ, De Gelder, 1710, The Miracle of the Snow, 1400, Da Panicale, The Magnificent, another French tapestry with “flying saucers” similar to the one in Summer’s Triumph. Both of these tapestries are located in the French Basilica of Notre Dame in Beaune, Burgundy. All of these artworks, have strange objects in the backgrounds, hovering in the skies. They are clearly not angels—or even moonbeams.
As the years went by, Sara’s convictions that these were actually UFOs waned. She was sure that some of these bygone people had seen strange things in the night sky that frightened them, such as meteors and eclipses, maybe even the aurora borealis. They possibly recorded some of these things in their artwork.
But that was not what was depicted in the artworks she had put on her list. The bigger mystery became, then, why had they been compelled to paint anything in the sky, unless it was a moon, star, cloud, shooting star or angel?
What had they really seen?
Why had they been compelled to place a foreign object in the expanse of the sky at all?
Were they symbols?
Was it part of a code? A message?
Somehow there was a much bigger mystery to these objects painted in the sky, Sara decided.
Sara Marie Hogg is the author of Curious, Indeed, a collection of true stories about the bizarre and unexplained. Pleases click HERE to find the book on Amazon.