With the Last Supper, Leonardo Da Vinci, a brilliant scientist and artist, left humankind a great work of art, somehow puzzling work that leaves questions unanswered and thus remains mysterious and wonderful.
Leonardo da Vinci took five years to design the wall of the refectory in the Dominican monastery of Santa Maria Delle Grazie. Through the spatial representation of the depth of the room and through the windows painted in the background, Leonardo da Vinci gives his ” Ultima Cena ” light and shadow effects that make Jesus appear even more luminous in the center of the picture.
Milan: Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper
The arrangement of the depicted saints in groups of three people each, Jesus himself individually in the middle, the violent gestures and facial expressions of the indignant disciples, and the position of their hands give the picture drama and reality.
What do the apostles do in the Last Supper painting by Leonardo da Vinci?
The painting depicts the scene of the Last Supper in which Jesus is sitting with his apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion and at the exact moment when Jesus announced that one of them would betray him. The Last Supper describes the various reactions of each of the apostles:
- Bartholomäus, Jacob, and Andreas are surprised
- Judas Iscariot is in the shadows and is surprised by the sudden revelation. In the horizontal line, it is the lowest in painting. Peter looks angry and John seems passed out.
- Thomas is excited; the raised index finger indicates his disbelief in the resurrection. Jacob the Elder looks sad with his arms in the air and Philip seems to be demanding an explanation.
- Both Squidward and Matthew turned to Simon, perhaps to see if he had an answer to the initial questions.
The painting technique
Contrary to the usual proven technique for wall frescoes, Leonardo da Vinci used a technique made of oil and tempera for ” The Last Supper “, through which he conjured up atmospheric effects and a special mood.
Soon after the wall fresco was finished, the vivid, bright, and clear original color lost its charisma. The damp north wall soaked up the paint. This process was reinforced by the fact that another door was opened directly in the lower center of the picture into the dining room, thus dividing the picture in two.
The painting survived an Allied bombing raid in 1943. It has been restored several times. During the last restoration from 1979 to 1999, one of the most complex in history, several layers of the colors applied in previous restorations were removed again.
Contrary to the usual proven technique for wall frescoes, Da Vinci used a technique made of oil and tempera for ” The Last Supper “, through which he conjured up atmospheric effects and a special mood.
Decay and restoration
The major disadvantage of this technique was that the color soon faded. The kitchen fumes, on the back wall of which the work is located, contributed to this. Unfortunately, very little remains of the original painting due to exposure to moisture. There have been numerous attempts at restoration: the first in 1726 by Michelangelo Bellotti, another attempt was made in 1770.
In 1796, the French revolutionary anti-clerical forces used the refectory as an armory, throwing stones at the painting and scratching the apostles’ eyes out, seriously damaging the painting. Later, in 1821, an expert was called in to remove the painting and move it to a safer location, but he severely damaged the painting.
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The painting was subsequently cleaned and restored several times, but in 1943, during World War II, the refectory was hit by an Anglo-American bombing raid. The monastery was badly damaged by an Allied bomb in 1943. Fortunately, sandbag protection prevented the painting from being hit by bomb fragments. The entire wall of “The Last Supper ” remained intact, but there was likely further damage from the quakes.
Another cleaning and stabilization restoration was carried out from 1951 to 1954. A major restoration project carried out from 1978-1999 under the direction of Pinin Brambilla BARCILON lasted 21 years. During the most complex restoration in history, several layers of the colors applied in previous restorations were removed again. On May 28, 1999, the painting was again open to the public.