By Mimi Rippy
Discover why The Last Supper is one of the most famous religious images in the world. This article explains The Last Supper's appeal and why it has been the centre of so much debate. It will highlight the elements that are often over looked and how being in its presence will make you reassess the brilliance of Leonardo da Vinci.
This is the most mysterious mural produced in the Renaissance. The painting was commissioned by Leonardo da Vinci's patron Duke Ludovico Sforza and his duchess Beatrice d'Este. Its purpose was to decorate the refectory in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie just outside Milan. Leonardo had made a name for himself amongst the Renaissance wealthy and was highly sort after by this point in his career.
Leonardo da Vinci is one of the most famous artist of all time and his work continues to surprise scholars from across the world. Leonardo da Vinci was as much a scholar as he was an artist. It is difficult to understand the impact of his work without seeing it first hand. The Last Supper Ticket allows you to this master piece up close.
Controversy around this image has escalated over the years, suggesting Leonardo was conveying alternative meaning to the religious narrative. The condition of the painting has only helped fuel this debate. Leonardo's innovative technique resulted in the mural to crack and crumble away during his own lifetime. Leonardo was a extraordinary inventor and experimenter resulting in him making ground breaking discoveries. The Last Supper however, was certainly not a success! His experimental use of materials resulted in disaster and later restoration has only added controversy suggesting figures have been manipulated to change the images meaning.
Fresco painting was the favored practice of the Renaissance artists. The technique was painting onto wet plaster; the drawback was its time limitations. Work had to be finished before the plaster dried and was difficult to be altered. Leonardo used tempera made up of egg yolk and vinegar plus oil painting on dry plaster. He was able to alter his painting as and when he wished. In theory an excellent idea but the paint didn't mix with the plaster, and quickly decomposed.
If you are a lover of Leonardo da Vinci then you must buy Last Supper Tickets. The Last Supper's decomposition has however not taken away from the impact the image gives when seen on site. Its impressive size, standing at 15x29ft brings the refectory to life. This is not coincidental. Leonardo has created a innovative form of perspective. Despite the image being well above the spectator's head we feel like we are eye level with Christ. Furthermore the food, cutlery and glasses on the table are visible. The underside of the table should only be visible from our location on the floor of the refectory. He has adapted our perspective so we can engage with this religious scene. Leonardo's unique uses of perspective can only truly be appreciated when view on site, reproductions lose the fantastic achievement of the world greatest artist.
Leonardo da Vinci's desire to merge reality with the image went further than just his use of perspective. His attention to detail such as the table cloth and the cutlery would have matched the same used in the hall. It would appear that the nuns shared the same space as the holy figures as they too ate their supper. The painting would appear to be an extension of the room.
Viewing the last supper on site will make you see the painting in a different light. Your original understand of Leonardo da Vinci will certainly be challenged. When considering the mural's decomposition and its relation to the view within the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie you will realize why The Last Supper is such an important image in art history. But decide for yourself, buy a Last Supper ticket and make up your own mind!
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