The Last Supper
Created on January 9, 2019
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Instead of using the traditional fresco procedure, Leonardo decided to use a new technique of his own. He applied the plaster and he let it dry, and then he sealed it. Before he started this big project, he spent years, just looking for his models and sketching them. Once he was happy with his designs; he transferred the drawings, fixing the giant sketches to the wall, and pricking the outline of the figures, leaving tiny marks over the surface.In the traditional fresco technique, the painters used a water base tempera that was then absorbed by the wet plaster, it was embedded in the wall, making it almost weather proof. Leonardo prepared a mixture of tempera and oil paint that allowed him to work at his own pace. He painted from top to bottom, to avoid stain what he had already finished.
The painting depicts the reaction of the disciples upon learning that one of them would betray Jesus. The twelve apostles are arranged as four groups of three.
Bartholomew, Jacob the Less and Andrew are all shocked by Christ’s proclamation, and Andrew has his hands up to stop the words.
Christ represents calm in the face of chaos. As the apostles run the gamut of emotions, Christ is in the center of the storm, calm and expansive, providing both a perspective and emotional anchor for the scene. The objects around Christ have fallen over, representing the chaos when he is not around, while those in front of him are orderly. With his arms spread out, possibly representing the Holy Trinity, he is pointing to the bread and wine before him, each a symbol of the moment Jesus will sacrifice himself.
Judas, Peter and John form the next group of three. In this grouping, Peter appears to be angry, and his handling of the knife seems to foreshadow his reaction to Jesus' arrest. The youngest disciple of the group, John, appears to be fainting. Judas has his face in the shadow. In the past Judas was painted separated from the group off to the side. Instead, Leonardo paints Judas among the group, but lost from Christ’s light – literally – as he is covered by a shadow.
Leonardo's painting of The Last Supper, has a single vanish point. The painting is constructed with a linear perspective. This is because all the perspectival lines are not composed parallel to the picture plane; and appear to converge at a single point, the vanishing point. This point also indicates the orientation of the painting's spatial composition and horizon line.
Leonardo used one point perspective, which involves all the lines in the painting converging in one place, known as the vanishing point. He placed the vanishing point at Jesus’s right temple, thus drawing the viewer’s attention toward the main subject. This strategy was used to emphasize the importance and central position of Christ.
It is a picture of the last supper ofJesusand hisdisciples. It shows how they reacted when Jesus said that one of them wouldbetrayhim. Each disciple has their own expression showing their own reaction to what Jesus has just told them.The 12 apostles are clearly in a discussion with each other and are expressing mild panic, disbelief, anger, sadness, and doubt which is clearly represented by their actions.
The painting is amuralon the wall of the Santa Maria delle Grazie rectory in the dining room inMilan,Italy. It measures 460 X 880 cm. Da Vinci began painting it in1495and finished it in1498, but did not work on it all the time between these years. Thepaintingwas commissioned byLudovico Sforza, the duke of Milan and Leonardo’s patron during his first extended stay in that city.
After Christ is Thomas, Jacob the Greater and Philip, each agitated, stunned or confused, respectively. James the Greater and Philip both appear to be stunned. James is depicted with his arms in the air.
In the final grouping of three, Matthew, Jude Thaddeus and Simon the Zealot are looking at one another, seemingly searching for answers. Both Jude Thaddeus and Matthew are turned toward Simon, perhaps to find out if he has any answer to their initial questions.
Around 1652, someone decided to insert another door into the refectory and apparently decided that the only logical spot for it was smack in the middle of that wall where Leonardo had painted Christ's feet. Through the centuries, the refectory suffered several floods, a door was opened in the center of the wall, it was used as a stable, a prison, and an armory, and during the Second World War, a bomb cracked the wall and the refectory was destroyed.
The painting contains a number of allusions to the number 3. The disciples are seated in groups of three; there are three windows, while the figure of Jesus is given a triangular shape, marked by his head and two outstretched arms.
The back wall is dominated by three windows that look out on an undulating landscape recalling Milan’s countryside.