News as art, continued

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Back to the "what does this scene remind me of?" category, previously here, while still looking into further flu news in China. Many nominations for this painting, usually with apologies for the larger Messianic implications:

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After the jump, for greater clarity of detail, an early non-Leonardo copy of the painting as it once may have looked. Plus another version not by Leonardo. More to come, with eventual wrap-up thanks to all contributors.

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And, on the raised-finger gesture of Obama in the photo and of the disciple Thomas in the paintings, this from an informed reader:
The image of Obama speaking struck me as very davinciesque, especially the finger pointing upward. It is supposed to point out to the person watching the painting either that John the Baptist was a great guy or alternatively that the fingers represent fire and water, which for Hermetics symbolizes purifying fire that transforms true believers from ?man? into ?super man?. It is called the "John gesture" among Da Vinci mysticists. See  http://www.philipcoppens.com/johngesture.html

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.
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