Category Archives: Secrets of the Lost Symbol

Secrets of the Lost Symbol Out in Paperback!

Secrets of the Lost Symbol has just been published in paperback, in time to make the perfect holiday gift for Dan Brown fans. By Dan Burstein and Arne de Keizer, with contributions from more than two dozen distinguished scholars, historians, and experts. Available from Harper, on Amazon, in a Kindle edition, and wherever books are sold.

What secrets lie at the heart of America?

Discover the hidden reality behind Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol . . . and America itself. Just as there is only one Dan Brown, there is also only one secrets team that has achieved worldwide bestselling success by exposing the truth beneath Brown’s bestselling novels. Dan Burstein and Arne de Keijzer have gathered together world-class authorities—from scientist Richard Dawkins, noetics expert Lynne McTaggart, and religious scholar Karen Armstrong to journalist Jeff Sharlet (author of The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power), mathematician and science historian Amir Aczel, FBI consultant Michael Barkun, 33° Freemason Arturo de Hoyos, and a host of renowned philosophers, symbologists, code breakers, art historians, writers, thinkers, and experts on the occult—to give readers the essential tools to understand the conspiracies, codes, cutting-edge science, cultural controversies, and suppressed history at the center of The Lost Symbol . . . and the very founding of the United States of America.

Which Founding Fathers were members of secret societies?

What is the true background of the Ancient Mysteries?

Does The Lost Symbol have a hidden religious agenda?

What is the actual role of Freemasons in American history?

What do the hidden codes embedded in the novel tell us?

All this and much much more in Secrets of the Lost Symbol, now available in paperback

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Galileo and the Freemasons

There was an interesting article about Galileo relics in Florence in the New York Times recently, that pointed up early the interest of early Italian Freemasons in the 18th century in Galileo as a hero, role model, and forward thinker–and virtual “saint.”

Describing the aftermath of Galileo’s death, the article reports:

“The scientist’s troubles did not end with his death in 1642.

“As a heretic he could not be given a proper church burial. But for years after his death, his followers in the circle of the grand dukes of Tuscany pushed to give him an honorable resting place.

“Nearly a century later, in 1737, members of Florence’s cultural and scientific elite unearthed the scientist’s remains in a peculiar Masonic rite. Freemasonry was growing as a counterweight to church power in those years and even today looms large in the Italian popular imagination as an anticlerical force.

According to a notary who recorded the strange proceedings, the historian and naturalist Giovanni Targioni Tozzetti used a knife to slice off several fingers, a tooth and a vertebra from Galileo’s body as souvenirs but refrained, it appears, from taking his brain. The scientist was then reburied in a ceremony, “symmetrical to a beatification,” said Mr. Galluzzi.

“After taking their macabre souvenirs, the group placed Galileo’s remains in an elegant marble tomb in Florence’s Santa Croce church, a pointed statement from Tuscany’s powers that they were outside the Vatican’s control. The church has long been a shrine to humanism as much as to religion, and Galileo’s permanent neighbors include Michelangelo, Machiavelli and Rossini.”

If you want to read the full text, it is available here at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/23/world/europe/23galileo.html?_r=1&emc=tnt&tntemail0=y

Secrets of the Bortoloni Code

There is an intriguing art review in today’s New York Times about an exhibition now on in Italy concerning the work of the little know early eighteenth century master, Bortoloni. Apparently a Freemason, recent art historians and scholars have been able to identify the Masonic symbolism in his work.

Below are highlights from the article. Full text is available at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/29/arts/29iht-conway.html?scp=1&sq=bortoloni&st=cse

May 28, 2010
A Forgotten Master’s Irreverence
By RODERICK CONWAY MORRIS
ROVIGO, ITALY — In 1716 Mattia Bortoloni, while still only in his twentieth year, won a remarkable commission. The Venetian nobleman Andrea Cornaro contracted the young painter to execute 104 frescoes, in eight rooms over two floors of his villa, one of Palladio’s grandest, in the town of Piombino Dese. The subject matter was unorthodox for the times, being for the most part scenes from the Old Testament, with more or less explicit references to the world of Freemasonry.
But after the fall of the Venetian Republic, the villa was sold and fell into disrepair, the frescoes and even the name of the painter who had done them were forgotten.

The resurfacing of documents recording the precocious Mattia Bortoloni’s role in Villa Cornaro’s decoration began to stir interest in the frescoes and their author in the second half of the 20th century. But by that time, a sizable part of the rest of the artist’s oeuvre was no longer identifiable with that of any known artist or had been attributed to others, primarily to a trio of Venetian Giambattistas: Tiepolo, Pittoni and Crosato.

The work of several scholars has now made it possible to reconstruct Bortoloni’s life and to stage “Bortoloni Piazzetta Tiepolo: The Veneto in the 1700s,” an exhibition of 80 canvases, nearly 20 of them by Bortoloni, curated by Alessia Vedova. The show puts Bortoloni in the context of his times and highlights the bizarre, irreverent and satirical qualities that characterize a number of his images.
Bortoloni was born in Canda, or the nearby village of San Bellino, in March 1696 (in the same month and year as Giambattista Tiepolo), in the ancient marshlands to the west of Rovigo that stretch down to the banks of the Po. Bortoloni seems to have begun his artistic apprenticeship young, with the Veronese Antonio Balestra, who had set up a studio in Venice.

Like Tiepolo, Bortoloni was to be above all a painter of frescoes. It is possible that his teacher Balestra, who deplored the flamboyant direction that art was then taking, passed the commission for the Villa Cornaro frescoes on to his talented student, not least because Balestra much preferred painting in oils.

The Masonic inspiration of the frescoes — which include multi-part sequences of the building of Noah’s Ark, the Tower of Babel and the Temple in Jerusalem — was rediscovered by the American scholar Douglas Lewis. Carl Gable, who with his wife Sally has owned Villa Cornaro since 1989, narrowed the original source of the imagery down to a two-volume Dutch bible, published by Pieter Mortier in Amsterdam in 1700 (there was also a French edition). The Mortier Bible, a copy of which is displayed at the show, contains over 460 illustrations, done by a team of five Dutch engravers.

The most likely bearer of the bible to Venice was Francesco Cornaro, cousin of Andrea, the villa’s owner. Francesco served as the Serenissima’s ambassador in London until 1709 and came in contact with Masonic circles there. He may have acquired a copy of the volumes there, or when passing through Amsterdam itself. Although Bortoloni followed the overall composition of the engravings for the main narrative scenes fairly closely, he gave himself considerable license in their graphic interpretation, his pastel palette and assured brushwork creating an admirably fluid and harmonious decorative effect….

Secrets of The Lost Symbol in Weston Magazine

Don’t miss this month’s Weston Magazine for an in-depth Lost Symbol photo tour of Washington DC.

Written by Secrets of the Lost Symbol co-editor Dan Burstein, with stunning images by Julie O’Connor, the article covers every major DC sight in The Lost Symbol.

If you don’t happen to be in the Weston area, you can see a pdf version of the article here. And if you want to look back over the photo tour we conducted here on the website, you can find our full Photo Tour archive here.

Discussing The Lost Symbol (Video)

For those who missed the recent Secrets of The Lost Symbol discussion in New York (mentioned previously here), it’s now possible to see an edited version of the panel’s opening comments (below).

Moderated by Time magazine’s Lev Grossman, the speakers discussed a range of ideas, including Dan Brown’s skill at weaving contemporary moral dilemmas into his narrative and also the suggestion that, despite the sneering of many literary critics, The Lost Symbol may be one of the most important works of American literature to emerge in the past few years.

The panelists for the evening were: Dan Burstein, co-editor of Secrets of The Lost Symbol; Mitch Horowitz, author of Occult America and a contributor to Secrets of The Lost Symbol; Ron Hogan, founding curator of literary website, Beatrice.com and, until recently, editor of Galleycat (also a contributor to Secrets of The Lost Symbol; and young adult author Maureen Johnson.

Secrets of The Lost Symbol 92nd St Y Panel (YouTube)

Columbia Begins Work on Lost Symbol Movie

Warren Bellamy: A role made for Morgan Freeman?

The movie version of The Lost Symbol is starting to take shape. Columbia PIctures recently announced that Steven Knight (Dirty Pretty Things) has signed to write the screenplay. Ron Howard and Tom “Robert Langdon” Hanks are yet to sign contracts, but their agreement is doubtless close at hand.

Columbia must be hoping the trio can come up with a better movie than last year’s Angels and Demons, which grossed a paltry $486 million compared to 2006’s Da Vinci Code movie, which grossed $758 million.

No word yet on who will play Warren Bellamy in The Lost Symbol. But the movie’s casting director is in for a tough job if Morgan Freeman says no.

And what about the problem of casting Katherine Solomon? Columbia bosses must be scratching their heads about finding a box office draw to play a female lead who, in the novel, is a few years older than Robert Langdon. Perhaps they should look no further than Meryl Streep? She has had quite a run lately, playing everything from an older woman having an affair with her ex-husband to a vivacious (and slightly potty) Julia Child. Surely, noetic scientist is within her range.

What do you think? Is Tom Hanks the best man to fill Robert Langdon’s shoes? Who would you like to see play Katherine Solomon? And is anyone other than Morgan Freeman capable of playing Warren Bellamy?

Secrets of The Lost Symbol Goes Global

Secrets of The Lost Symbol has gone global with the first six of an expected twelve foreign language editions appearing in the UK, Spain, Holland, Brazil, Italy, and Germany:

Order now from your local bookstore or Amazon store.