Leonardo's "Last Supper" is a priceless piece of art with much hidden meaning and obvious talents
bestowed upon a wall. Under the study of Verrocchio as a painter and a sculptor, he was able to use his
skills in creating a very detailed and a very naturalistic piece of work that would be remembered for
hundreds of years. He was also able to create characters with amazing individuality. Not only was his
portrayal of the characters magnificent, but the symbolism he used which emphasized the story being told
in the "Last Supper".
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Lodovico Sforza chose Leonardo to create "The Last Supper" in the refectory of the Dominican
Church of S. Maria delle Grazie in Milan. The Abate of the S. Maria delle Grazie saw Leonardo work
from morning until night on "The Last Supper" without eating. Although, there were times he would stop
painting for days at a time; or, he would work on a specific character for just a few moments and then
leave to continue working on it later. He worked on it from 1495 thru 1498 (Strauss, 27).
Before Leonardo began painting the actual portrait, he put down a substance which was suppose to
absorb the tempora and protect the tempora from the moisture on the wall. Unfortunately, the substance
was proved unsuccessful, and by 1517 it began to deteriorate.
In May 1556 a painter Giovanni Batista Armenini said that the painting was ‘so badly affected that
nothing is visible but a mass of blots'(Heydenreich, 18). The painting has continued to decay in the
following centuries. It was further damaged by restorations made by careless artists and by the addition
of a doorway put in the lower part of the painting. Yet even to this day his painting "The Last Supper"
is widely known and visited by many tourists each year.
The remembrance of the "Last Supper" could be due to the sacredness of the parting meal. It is
quite obvious that the skill used in the creation of the "Last Supper" was magnificent. Although, the
way Leonardo allows its viewers to depict the scene from a specific point in the Bible adds to the
importance and significance of the painting in which no other artist could even compare.
He does allow
the viewer to recognize this scene by the gestures of both the Lord and the Apostles. The Lord sits ever
so quietly while the Apostles rise in reaction to what the Lord had just announced. It is rather obvious
that Leonardo chose the critical moment after the Lord had stated, ‘Verily I say unto you that one of you
shall betray me,' because of the emotions that evolve in this specific scene (Matt. 26.21).