In 1495, Leonardo da Vinci began work on The Last Supper, which would become one of history’s most significant pieces of art.
The Last Supper is Leonardo’s depiction of an event that is mentioned in all four Gospels (books in the Christian New Testament). Christ gathered his disciples to eat, inform them he knew what was coming, and wash their feet the evening before he was betrayed by one of his disciples (a gesture symbolizing that all were equal under the eyes of the Lord). Christ gave the disciples precise instructions on how to eat and drink in the future in recollection of him while they ate and drank together. It was the first Eucharistic feast, which is being observed today.
The Last Supper illustrates the following few seconds in this tale when Christ dropped the bombshell that one of his disciples would betray him before morning, and all twelve disciples reacted with varying degrees of terror, fury, and amazement.
Leonardo had never worked on such a huge painting before, and he had no prior expertise with the fresco mural technique. The artwork was created using experimental paints straight on the dry plaster wall, and unlike frescos, where the pigments are combined with the wet plaster, it has not held up well over time. There were issues with the paint flaking off the wall even before it was done, which Leonardo had to fix. It has crumbled, been vandalized, bombed, and reconstructed throughout the years. We are probably just seeing a small portion of the original today.
Much of the new interest in the painting has focused on the ‘hidden’ features, although most people overlook the work’s amazing sense of perspective in doing so. The picture’s strong angle of the walls, which leads back to the room’s seemingly far rear wall and the windows that look out onto the hills and sky beyond. The style of day depicted via these windows contributes to the sense of calm that pervades the work, particularly around the figure of Christ.
The Layout of The Last Supper
The Last Supper’s perspective structure is balanced such that the vanishing point is just behind Christ’s right temple, indicating to the physical position of his brain’s center, or sensus communis. He delineated the table ends, floor lines, and orthogonal borders of the six ceiling coffer columns by tugging a thread in radial directions from this point. He drew diagonal lines up to the coffer corners from the right and/or left border of the horizon line, identifying places for the horizontal lines of the 12 coffer rows.
Leonardo was noted for his symmetry obsession. The arrangement of his Last Supper is mostly horizontal. The image’s foreground has a massive table with all of the persons behind it. With the equal number of individuals on either side of Jesus, the artwork is substantially symmetrical. With a series of markers at crucial locations showing the architectural characteristics of the composition and positioning of the figures, the above graphic depicts how the perspective of the Last Super was worked out.
10 Interesting Facts About the Masterpiece
1. Who’s who in “The Last Supper”
2. “The Last Supper’s” secret
Many famous painters have painted The Last Supper, a beloved religious event. Unlike painters before and after him, Leonardo da Vinci did not paint Jusus Christ with halos. Many art historians believe Leonardo da Vinci was a naturalist rather than a religious man. Because Leonardo believes that nature is God, he presented all of the characters in the painting as regular people.
3. The “Last Supper” attempt was a failure.
Unlike typical frescoes, which were painted on wet plaster walls by Renaissance painters, da Vinci experimented with tempura paint on a dry, sealed plaster wall at Milan’s Santa Maria delle Grazie monastery. However, the project failed since the paint did not attach correctly and began to peel away only a few decades after it was completed.
4. The salt that has poured is symbolic.
There are several theories concerning the artwork’s meaning. Many experts, for example, have debated the significance of the dropped salt bottle at Judas’ elbow. Spilled salt may represent bad luck, loss, religion, or Jesus as earth’s salt.
5. Herring or eel?
Scholars have also commented on da Vinci’s eating preferences. They argue over whether the fish on the table is herring or eel, as each has its own symbolic significance. “Aringa” is the Italian name for eel. The verb “arringa” is similar and meaning “to indoctrinate.” The word for herring in northern Italian dialect is “renga,” which also refers to someone who rejects religion. This would align with Jesus’ promise in the Bible that his apostle Peter would deny knowing him.
6. To obtain the one-point viewpoint, Da Vinci used a hammer and nail.
The perspective from which the masterpiece is created, which seems to urge the observer to jump directly into the dramatic action, is what makes it so remarkable. Da Vinci created this illusion by hammering a nail into the wall and then tying thread to it to create markings that guided his hand in establishing the painting’s angles.
7. The surviving mural is not entirely da Vinci’s creation.
Panin Brambilla Barcilon and his team used microscopic pictures, core samples, infrared reflectoscopy, and sonar to remove the new layers of paint and reconstruct the original as closely as possible near the end of the twentieth century. According to critics, Leonardo da Vinci created just a small percentage of the paintings that remain today.
8. There are three early copies of the original.
Early in the 16th century, three of da Vinci’s disciples, including Giampietrino, produced replicas of his picture. Giampietrino created a full-scale replica, which is presently on display at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. This oil painting on canvas served as the foundation for the work’s most recent restoration. The Leonardo da Vinci Museum in Belgium houses the second copy by Andrea Solari, while the Church of Saint Ambrogio in Switzerland houses the third copy by Cesare da Sesto.
9. The picture functions as a musical score as well.
Da Vinci included musical notes in “The Last Supper,” according to Italian musician Giovanni Maria Pala. Pala composed a 40-second tune using the reportedly concealed notes in the scene in 2007.
10. The painting has been neglected and mistreated.
In 1652, monastery members carved a new entrance in the aging painting’s wall, removing a portion of the artwork depicting Jesus’ feet. Napoleon Bonaparte’s soldiers transformed the area into a stable late in the 18th century, and missiles severely destroyed the wall. During WWII, the Nazis attacked the monastery, destroying the surrounding walls.