The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci
|Courtesy of www.renaissanceart.org|
The Last Supper is believed to have been commissioned to Leonardo by the Duke of Milan and originally intended to be placed in the Santa Maria delle Grazie. Leonardo portrays the dismay of the Twelve Disciples after Jesus' assertion that one will betray him.
The painting originally stretched over an entire wall within the monastery dining hall. Leonardo spent over three years to complete the large-scale mural and was sometimes delayed when he could not identify a face that he thought would suit a certain apostle appropriately.
The apostles form in groups around Jesus at the table. The geometric angles of the painting and all the light sources highlight Jesus. The apostle destined to betray Jesus, Judas, leans back into the shadow to symbolize his treachery. This is a far more subtle treatment of the conflict between Judas and Jesus than was customarily depicted.
Thankfully there were two early copies made of The Last Supper in the decades following the painting's unveiling. These copies have preserved a record of the subtle details of Leonardo's original masterpiece.