Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown is facing another plagiarism accusation, this time from a Russian art historian.
Mikhail Anikin claims that the U.S. author’s 2003 bestseller plagiarized his hypothesis that Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa was a coded theological message.
Anikin believes that the Mona Lisa was Da Vinci’s allegory about the Christian Church and that the portrait’s face is actually two combined images: that of Jesus and of the Virgin Mary.
Anikin is an art historian and Da Vinci specialist working at the famed Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. He claims that in 1998, when the museum was working on an exhibit with officials from Houston, Texas, he shared his theory with some of these colleagues.
One of the group was interested in the idea and asked to share the theory with a “detective book author that he knew,” Anikin told Agence France-Press.
While he granted the man permission to convey the theory, Anikin says he specified that he must be attributed if the author used the idea in a future book.
Anikin also says that he outlined his theory in his 2000 book Leonardo Da Vinci: Theology in Paint.
On Friday, a British court rejected the claim that Brown had copied parts of The Da Vinci Code from the earlier book Holy Blood, Holy Grail by authors Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln. Baigent and Leigh had launched the British lawsuit.