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Plagiarism and Da Vinci Code

A new plagiarism claim was levelled Monday against Dan Brown by Russian art expert Mikhail Anikin.

india Updated: Apr 17, 2006 15:36 IST

A new plagiarism claim was levelled Monday against

The Da Vinci Code

author Dan Brown - this time by a Russian art expert - just three days after Brown successfully fought off a high-profile court challenge in London.

Mikhail Anikin, an art historian at the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg and a specialist on the Italian painter Leonard Da Vinci, told AFP he would take legal action if he does not get an apology and compensation for "everything Dan Brown has got from this plagiarism."

"Otherwise, I intend to take legal action in the next few days," he said.

Anikin said that central to his claim is that the US author "plagiarised my idea that Leonardo Da Vinci was not only a painter but also a theologian and that his (painting) Mona Lisa was not a portrait but an allegory representing the Christian church."

 Mikhail Anikin with a copy of his book

Anikin said that in 1998 he had shared a theory with colleagues at a museum in Houston, Texas that "the Mona Lisa consists of two images -- those of Christ and the Virgin Mary, and represents the Da Vinci code."

According to Anikin, a specialist named William Sten "was intrigued and asked my permission to tell this hypothesis to a detective book author that he knew."

"I gave permission, but asked that this author indicate in his book that the idea had been mine."

On Friday, Britain's High Court rejected a claim that Brown had stolen key elements of his 2003 global blockbuster from an earlier book by two other writers.

The Da Vinci Code has sold about 50 million copies worldwide and sparked a minor tourist boom around some of the sites it mentions, including the Louvre Museum.

First Published: Apr 14, 2006 14:16 IST