The Last Supper is one of Leonardo da Vinci’s most well-known works; and along with the Mona Lisa, could be said to have established his fame as a painter. The painting represents the scene of The Last Supper of Jesus with his 12 disciples where he announced that “one of them would betray him”.
The painting is located at the Santa Maria delle Grazie church in Milan, covering the wall of the dining hall. In it, Leonardo grouped the apostles in four groups of threes, with Jesus in the middle sitting calmly.
The remarkable thing about this composition is how Leonardo brilliantly depicts identifiable reactions of the apostles with varying degrees of shock, outrage and disbelief when Jesus dropped the bombshell announcement.
Deterioration and restoration
Leonardo’s decision to use oil paint rather than the more reliable, fast-drying and stable watercolour fresco technique meant that the painting deteriorated soon enough. Several painters attempted to repair and major restoration works were done from 1978 to 1999, but the popularity of the work remains.
It could be argued though, that very little of the original paint now remains after all its repairs.
The fascination continues…
The painting continues to mystify and fascinate nonetheless. Speculations by writers and historical revisionists centre around supposed purported hidden messages or hints—and plenty other such-like interpretations —within the painting.
The fact that it plays the central role in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code does little to quench the spurring of new wave of research and interpretation of one of this world’s most famous artworks.
It is advisable that you book your ticket well ahead because of it being a very popular attraction…or simply prepare to be disappointed! Also be warned that visitors are not allowed to stay long.
The excellent audio guide will help you make the most of this must-see painting.
Image credit: Waiting For The Word