The Last Supper

Leonardo da Vinci


The Last Supper, painted between 1494 and the beginning of 1498, is considered perhaps the most important mural painting in the world, “a beautiful and marvelous thing”, as Giorgio Vasari wrote in his Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors and Architects, in which he speaks of Leonardo and describes the Last Supper

Painter, architect, sculptor, engineer, inventor, mathematician, anatomist and writer, Leonardo da Vinci embodied the ideal of the many-sided man dreamed of by the Italian Renaissance.
The Last Supper offers perhaps the most complete testimony to his multifaceted genius, urge to experiment and inexhaustible curiosity. In the period when he was working on the painting, the last decade of the 15th century, Leonardo was also busy with studies of light, sound, movement and human emotions and their expression. We find these interests reflected in the Last Supper, in which, perhaps more than in any other work, Leonardo displayed his concern to depict what he called the “motions of the soul” through postures, gestures and expressions.

“He also painted in Milan for the friars of S. Domenic, at Saint Maria delle Grazie, a Last Supper, a thing most beautiful and marvelous. He gave to the heads of the apostles great majesty and beauty, but left that of Christ imperfect, not thinking it possible to give that celestial divinity which is required for the representation of Christ. […]” Giorgio Vasari, Lives [1550]


Last Supper, Leonardo Da Vinci, detail

Since September 1980 the Last Supper, together with the church and the Dominican monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie, have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site as “a unique artistic achievement, of an exceptional universal value that transcends all historical contingencies”. Among the reasons we can also read that “The Last Supper has exerted a considerable influence, not only on the development of an iconographic theme but also on the destiny of painting” and finally: “it is no exaggeration to say that this painting opened up a new era in art history”.

Preserving this delicate painting and enabling the public to admire it is a daily challenge to the restorers, architects and art historians who look after it and use the finest technologies to ensure that the masterpiece is preserved and passed on to future generations.

Source: The Museo del Genacolo Vinciano, Leonardi’s Last Supper Museum

Debora Ragland Buerk
The Write Stuff
Looking at life from a different POV.

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