Online conspiracy theorists who subscribe to the so-called Ancient Astronaut Hypothesis claim that the famous painting known as the The Glorification of the Eucharist, produced late in the sixteenth century (c. 1595) by the famous Italian painter and printmaker Ventura di Archangelo Salimbeni (1563-1613), currently on display in Florence, is proof that Jesus was a time traveler.
The painting, according to conspiracy theorists, shows an authentic representation of the old Soviet Sputnik 1, the first artificial Earth satellite, launched by the Soviet Union into an elliptical low Earth orbit in October 4, 1957, about 350 years after Salimbeni depicted it in his famous painting.
Due to the claim that Salimbeni's The Glorification of the Eucharist includes a representation of Sputnik 1, the painting is widely referred to in conspiracy theory circles as the UFO, Satellite, or Sputnik of Montalcino.
Some conspiracy theorists argue that the sphere is proof that Salimbeni was granted a vision of the future space satellite by Jesus. Others claim that Jesus was an alien time traveler who visited Salimbeni and showed him a model of Sputnik 1 and thus inspired the famous painting.
The object, according to conspiracy theorists, is clearly a metallic sphere with telescopic antennae and strange bright lights that identify it unambiguously as Sputnik 1. Conspiracy theorists claim that no one was able to say what Salimbeni understood the sphere to represent until the Soviets unveiled Sputnik 1 in 1957 and sparked the space race.
Predictably, the claim by conspiracy theorists sparked a fierce controversy, with debunkers raising objections and proposing alternative explanations of the mysterious spherical object.
The most popular theory proposed by skeptics, which has been rejected by conspiracy theorists, claims that the sphere is a Sphaera Mundi.
The Sphaera Mundi or celestial sphere is a spherical model of the universe found in several examples of European art dating back to the medieval era. Skeptics claim that the strange lights on the bluish sphere are the Sun and the Moon.
Medieval artists supposedly represented the cosmos as a sphere. The Earth was represented as a tiny speck at the centre of the cosmos. The Earth-speck was surrounded by several spherical layers of the cosmos, like the layers of the skin of an onion.
The first layers consisted of the sea, air, and fire, completing the four alchemical elements, Earth, Water, Wind, and Fire.
The outermost layers held the planets, the stars, the Sun, and the Moon.
Although skeptics claim that examples of celestial spheres abound in medieval art, conspiracy theorists insist that the sphere in Salimbeni's The Glorification of the Eucharist is not a celestial sphere. They support their claim by pointing to the obvious fact that while Salimbeni's sphere shows the Moon and the Sun it does not show stars like other examples of the Sphaera Mundi or celestial sphere.
Finally, conspiracy theorists note what they consider the odd fact that the antennae on Salimbeni's sphere are missing in all known representations of the Sphaera Mundi or celestial sphere.
Theorists dismiss the claim by skeptics that the antennae are scepters or wands representing the power and authority of the Father and the Son, arguing that medieval depictions of wands in religious art do not show them located on the celestial sphere but held solely in the hands of the subjects.
Other theorists argue that Salimbeni's "wands" are unique because they appear to have a retractable design not seen in other medieval art.
Despite objections by skeptics, believers insist that the painting gives proof that Jesus granted Salimbeni a vision of the technological future. Others claim that Jesus was an alien time traveler who visited Salimbeni with a model of Sputnik 1.
Some theorists have remarked about how stunningly futuristic medieval representations of the world as a sphere in medieval art appear to be and suggested that such representations indicate an input from time travelers who came from the future.
The spherical Earth hypothesis did not become generally accepted in Western Europe until after Ferdinand Magellan circumnavigated the globe in the 1500s. Even after Magellan's practical demonstration many Europeans continued to cling to the old flat earth theory for centuries.
Mera has promoted the time travel theory of Salimbeni's The Glorification of the Eucharist at several conferences across the U.K., according to the Express.
"You start to find a lot of religious connotation linked in with the UFO phenomenon," Express reports he said at a recent conference. "This painting was painted in the 1600s and nobody ever really knew what that was a painting of, until we kind of looked at Sputnik, which was the first satellite to pass round the Earth."
"What is really, really interesting is it is surprisingly similar to Sputnik, even to the point there is a little nodule there and the exact same nodule on the side there," he added.
He argued that because there was no way anyone could have known or anticipated the Sputnik in 1600, someone with a knowledge of future events must have contributed to the creation of the painting.
[Image via Wikimedia/Public Domain]