Monday, July 15, 2013

The Last Supper

File:Última Cena - Da Vinci 5.jpg

This is The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci (1495-1498).  This 15’2” x 28’10” mural was originally painted on a wall in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy.  This mural depicts Leonardo’s interpretation of Christ’s last supper with the 12 disciples before he was betrayed by Judas and crucified as described in all four Gospels in the New Testament of the Bible. From left to right the 12 disciples are Bartholomew, James, Andrew, Judas, Peter, John, Christ, Thomas, James, Philip, Matthew, Thaddeus, and Simon.

This piece of art is significant simply because it was crafted by Leonardo da Vinci who was a great visionary, but this piece of art also has a few features of significance by itself.  First is the story of the last supper depicted in the mural.  This was the first painting created of the last supper where the disciples show identifiable emotions about the news being given to them by Jesus.  The idea of bringing such strong human emotions into a biblical seen, as important as the last supper, was visionary at the time.  Another important aspect of this mural is the perspective Leonardo gives the viewer by making everything cast focus to Jesus.  In Frank Zollner’s book Leonardo da Vinci, a book about Leonardo’s life, this is considered one of the greatest examples of a one point perspective ever created.  

Unfortunately this masterpiece is all but falling apart.  At the bottom of the mural there is an arch, where a doorway was cutout to connect to the adjoining room.  Also because Leonardo experimented by painting with dry plaster in attempts to achieve a greater palette of colors, resulting in the painting quickly deteriorating.  In the 1970’s the mural was marred by failures to restore it as seen here, but later was restored to its current condition here.  Although still badly deteriorated this masterpiece is one of the most popular works of art known today.


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