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The Last Supper Painting

Leonardo Da Vinci completed the Last Supper Painting in 4 very difficult years, 1495 to 1498. The Dominican of Sta Maria delle Grazie in Italy has the privilege of housing the painting on its back wall.

The painting has an “extension of the room” look and reason for it is that Leonardo Da Vinci wanted to create an illusion of Jesus sitting with his apostles at the end of the dining hall.

The Moment of Betrayal

This painting is a pictorial depiction of Jesus Christ's speech at the last supper.

Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.
And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.
And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?
And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.
--Matthew 26

Technique used in The Last Supper

Novelist Dan Brown in his blockbuster novel “ The Da Vinci Code ” committed an error, he claimed that Da Vinci's' masterpiece was a fresco which in fact it wasn't, It was what we call a tempera.

Had it been a fresco (a technique where the painting is done when the plaster on the wall is still wet therefore the colors intermingles permanently with the plaster and is permanent.) it wouldn't have weathered and wouldn't be falling off the way it has been for all these years.

Leonardo Da Vinci chose to adopt this new style, which we now know as tempera. Egg yolk and vinegar was mixed with oil colors and painted on dry plaster. That way it made it easy to be redone when necessary. However this technique proved to be disastrous, the painting almost immediately began to fall off the plaster.

The Last Supper was painted by Leonardo Da Vinci. He painted it on the back wall of the dining hall at the Dominican Convent of Sta Maria delle Grazie in Italy.

Theme of The Last Supper

Da Vinci chose to depict the most poignant moment of the last supper; the scene of Jesus announcing that there is a traitor around them. Da Vinci chose to deviate from the norm of depicting the last suppers as a peaceful and benign scene. His "violent" version with the disciples all screaming and yelling, created a lot of controversy. Da Vinci chose to ignore another long established iconographical composition of the Christian Paintings- the arrangement of the disciples around a circular or square table. Da Vinci chose to show a frontal view so that the expression of each of the apostles was clear.

The Da Vinci Code?

A theory developed by Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince in their 1997 book called The Templar Revelation claims that the person to the right of Jesus is Mary Magdalene and not as most art historians claim, apostle John. This is the theory on which Dan Brown's 2003 novel “ The Da Vinci Code ” was based.

Dan Brown claims that the figure has womanly bosom and delicate features and cannot and was never meant to be apostle John. Peter seems to be making a threatening gesture towards Mary's throat. The reason for which is that she was chosen to carry forward Jesus's legacy over him. The legacy is the best-kept secret in the history of mankind.

The Last Supper may or may not be the key to the biggest secret of Mankind, but it is most definitely one of the most important and remarkable pieces of Art the world has seen.

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