We have all heard of Nostradamus, and perhaps puzzled momentarily over his mysterious prophesies, but the man himself is even more mysterious. One thing we know for sure is that he had a son called Cesar, and that Cesar was quite a fine artist.  Now that is interesting, because in those days, art was pretty much a monopoly of one family, a family of merchants specialising in shipping, gold, fine fabrics, and other precious items.

So, after all I had found, I couldn’t help wondering… what if Nostradamus too was just an avatar, a name used by someone already famous for his art, someone who wanted to get away from his pursuers, and who also rather fancied the idea of being a prophet?Nostradamus could be someone we already know. So how to tell? Look at a portrait. Best of all, look at Cesar’s portrait of him…

P116-CezarNostradamusFull

and in particular let’s do some tonal enhancement on his forehead and see what is written there…

P117-CezarEyckNostradamus

Bronzino was a very famous artist in his day, a Mannerist, especially inspired by the work of Michelangelo. His birth (an extraordinarily scandalous birth, but that’s another story) took place in November 1503. And Nostradamus? Within a month of Bronzino, but no one is quite sure which day.

But to even contemplate the possibility that Nostradamus and Bronzino were one and the same person, that’s crazy, no? Well, they both worked for the Medicis: Bronzino painted for Cosimo I, who succeeded the son of Lorenzo as leader of Tuscany – and Nostradamus prophesied for Catherine, the daughter of Lorenzo, after she married the man destined to become King of France. There is a painting, furthermore, by Bronzino dated 1561, entitled ‘Noli Me Tangere’ (‘Don’t Touch Me’), the year Nostradamus was briefly emprisoned for publishing his 1562 almanac without permission.

BronzinoNoleMeTangere

We might think that was just coincidence were it not for the fact that Bronzino then signed his painting… ever so faintly: ‘Nostradamus’.

P119-BronzinoNoleMeTangereNostradamus

So Nostradamus’ son said he was Bronzino, and Bronzino said he was Nostradamus, they were born within a month of one another, and on and off they worked for the same family – albeit in different countries. It’s still far fetched.

But what did our prophet and our artist look like? Is there any similarity? Judge for yourself: I found just four portraits of Nostradamus (marked ‘N’), and six of our artist, all at different times of life, skinny after hard times, and plump after the good – and here they are all together:

BronzinoNostradamusCompositeSmall

I personally don’t take his prophesies seriously, but should I take Nostradamus’ possible alias seriously? The faces were painted by different people, and there is a fair amount of variation, but I do have the feeling I am looking at the same person.

But there is one more clue,