Overview of The last supper.

In 1498, the great Italian artist ‘Leonardo da Vinci’ painted the magnificent beauty called, “The last supper”. “The Last Supper” adorns the dining hall walls in the convent of Santa Maria Dell Grazia in Milan.

About the artist – Leonardo di ser da Vinci was popularly known as Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) . Together with being a skilled sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, inventor, and writer, he was a supremely talented and exceptional artist. Andrea del Verrocchio, in 1467 had much influence on young Leonardo. Leonardo’s first known contribution to one of his master’s works was in Verrocchio’s “Baptism of Christ”. Some notable artworks of Vinci are Mona Lisa (c. 1503–19), Last Supper (c. 1495–98), Vitruvian Man (c. 1490).

Like many of the well-known paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, The Last Supper hides a much deeper meaning it. It brings to light a significant moment in religious history. The painting portrays the few seconds of the biblical story after Christ says to his disciples, “One of you will betray me before sunrise.” All twelve of them reacted to the news with different degrees of horror, anger, and shock. The scene of the Last Supper had been painted many times. However, never had it been painted with such range and strength of emotions as present in Vinci’s one. Only the master of an artist like Leonardo himself could capture and depict the essence and beauty of this scene.

Leonardo balanced the perspective construction of the Last Supper such that its vanishing point is immediately behind Christ’s right temple. It is pointing to the physical location of the center, or Sensus Communis, of his brain. By pulling a string in radial directions from this point, he marked the table ends, floor lines, and orthogonal edges of the six ceiling coffer columns.

Expressions– ‘The Last supper was not the first painting of the famous biblical scene. The scene partly changed when Leonardo da Vinci painted facial expressions of specific apostles. He was able to bring out their intimate feelings through these expressions.

From left to right- Barthlow, James, The less, and Andrew are all shocked by the announcement of Christ. Andrew is seen holding his hands up to stop the words coming out of Christ himself. Judas, Peter, and John from the next group of three show how Peter is furious and John seems faint(Many historians argue that’s not John but Mary Magdalene). Mary of Magdalene was one of the earliest followers of Jesus of Nazareth.

Judas’s face remains in the shadow. In the previous paintings, Judas was painted separately from the group. Instead, Leonardo drew Judas among the group but lost from Christ’s light as he remained covered in the shadow. After Christ, Thomas, James, the Great and Philip, each looked agitated, stunned, or confused, respectively. Philip questioned, “Is it I?”. Matthew, Thaddeus, and Simon form the last three, with the first two looking to the latter for an explanation.

Religious Notion– The evening before Christ was betrayed, he gathered all of them together
to eat with him. It was a gesture symbolizing that all were equal under the lord eye’s. Leonardo also portrays Christ blessing the bread and saying “ Take eat, this is my body” and blessing the wine saying “Drink, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for the forgiveness of sins”.

Paint used in the Painting– Leonardo tried an experimental technique using tempera or oil paint on two layers of dry preparatory ground. His compromised process meant that the pigments were not permanently attached to the wall, however, the painting began to flake within a few years.

Damage throughout time -Although the last supper was painted on a wall but it’s not a fresco. Frescos were painted on the wet wall. Being the master of experiments, Leonardo da Vinci rejected the traditional fresco method. He experimented on tempera with oil paints on a dry plaster wall. However, the experiment proved unsuccessful because the paints did not cohere (stick together) properly and began to fall away only a few decades later.

Da Vinci’s tempera-on-stone experiment was a failure but the painting itself was and is beloved. By the early 16th century, the paint had started to flake and decay. Within the next years, The Last Supper was a ruin of its former glory. Early restoration attempts only made it worse.

In 1652, a doorway was added to the wall that holds the painting. Its construction meant that a lower central chunk of the piece—which included Jesus’ feet was lost.

Jesus’ feet were lost because of the Doro way made in 1652

Vibrations from Allied bombings during World War II further added to the painting’s destruction. Finally, in 1980, a 19-year restoration effort began. The Last Supper was ultimately restored, but it lost much of its original paint along the way.