Leonardo Da Vinci: The Last Supper (1494-1498)
The Last Supper was commissioned to Leonardo (1452-1519) by the Dominican monks who owned the Santa Maria delle Grazie monastery, in Milan. Leonardo took four years to complete the painting, but the result was astonishing. The master from Vinci managed to represent perfectly the tempest of emotions created by the unexpected announcement of Christ: “One of you will betray me”.
Watching The Last Supper, it’s like being there: the painting has a cinematographic quality that perfectly suits our modern sensibility. The Last Supper summarizes in itself all the various aspects of the genius of Leonardo. For example his absolute attention to details is expressed in the realism of even the smallest objects, like the food or the crisps of the table cloth. You can find his deep knowledge of the human nature in the different emotions he put in the faces and gestures of the Apostles : rage, pain, surprise, incredulity. And you can try to get the subtle way he painted the relationship between Christ and Judas, the only two people in the room knowing the truth.
There are so many layers of meanings and symbols that make The Last Supper an all-time masterwork. However, the experimental technique used by Leonardo for painting The Last Supper got spectacular artistical results but made it extremely fragile at the same time, making the painting always at risk of vanishing forever. That’s why entrances have to be rigorously limited : no more than 30 people every 15 minutes.
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