The Last Supper – Leonardo da Vinci

The Last Supper - Leonardo da Vinci



The Last Supper is a fresco painted by Leonardo da Vinci commissioned by Duke Ludovico Sforza in the refectory of the Santa Maria delle Grazie (a Dominican monastery in Milan). It is a depiction of a scene from the Last Supper of Jesus, as described in the Bible and it is based on John 13: 21-26, in which Jesus announces that one of his twelve disciples will betray him. The painting is known worldwide and the arrangement is an iconographic model. Because it cannot be moved, it has never been privately owned. In accordance with other images of the last supper at that time, Leonardo has taken over the convention to depict all persons at one side of the table during dinner, so that none of those present are looked at in the back. But he deviates remarkably from that convention by also placing Judas there among the other disciples, while usually Judas was placed opposite the other apostles on the other side of the table. Another custom was to provide all disciples, with the exception of Judas, with a halo.

However, Leonardo has opted for a more realistic and dramatic effect by not providing anyone with a halo, but showing Judas leaning back in the shade. He also creates a realistic and psychological image in which he tries to explain why Judas and Jesus take the bread at the same time, just after Jesus made the prediction of the betrayal. Jesus is shown as if he is telling Thomas and James on his left, who are shocked because Jesus points to a piece of bread for them. Distracted by the conversation between John and Peter, Judas holds out his hand to another piece of bread that Jesus extends his right hand to. All perspective lines and also the light fall attention to Jesus.

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