Leonardo da Vinci´s "Last Supper"

The most famous masterpiece of Leonardo da Vinci, the “Last Supper” can be admired at the Monastir of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan.

It is considered to be the most mature and complete work of Leonardo. His main idea was to transmit, in the most realistic way possible, the different emotions and reactions of the apostles to the words of Christ: “One of you will betray me”.

 

The images of the apostles are represented with their unique to each of them character and temperament; each apostle shows a different reaction to Christ’s words.


It was this subtle psychological approach, based on the diversity of faces and gestures, that most impressed to Leonardo’s contemporaries. This is especially true when comparing his paintings with other Florentine pictures from that epoch.


An interesting anecdote concerning the creation of the masterpiece describes perfectly the character of the artist and his “sharp tongue”:

Leonardo was reflecting for long hours in the refectory, pondering about the images of the apostles and drafting them with their possible expressions. The Abbot of the Monastery was very nervous because of his slowness. He wanted the artist to keep on painting non-stop in order to finish as soon as possible. The Abbot complained to the Duke of Sforza, who was the commissioner of that work. The duke was forced to send for Leonardo and in a delicate form to ask him to complete his work.


When talking to the Duke Leonardo indicated that he was nearing the completion of the painting and that all that was left for him to do was the design of two heads: Christ’s and Judas’. He was trying to find out the best depiction for Judas but if he couldn’t find anything better the head of this Abbot, so obsessive and indiscreet, might be the right choice.


This remark made the duke smile and he said that Leonardo was really right.  The embarrassed Abbot left Leonardo alone.


A visit to the Last Supper during a tour of Milan is recommended but it should be planned well ahead because places are really limited.