Any conversation about paintings that are renowned across the globe includes one mainstay; The Last Supper. This 15th century Biblical masterpiece created by Leonardo da Vinci is truly remarkable in all that it successfully portrays and its significance in the Catholic religion. The mural is housed at Santa Maria delle Grazie, a church and Dominican convent in Milan and attracts visitors from around the world. One of the most popular pieces of art in the last five centuries, The Last Supper is a truly special display of the artistic prowess of Leonardo da Vinci and rightfully deserves all the attention that comes its way.
While there have been different versions of the painting over time, some on paper, others in sand and other mediums, the experience of viewing the actual painting cannot be replicated. If you’re looking to experience this timeless classic, a trip to the Santa Maria delle Grazie is the perfect way to do so.
The Last Supper is special for many reasons; the powerful image of Christianity it showcases, the composition, and its unique perspective, which is built on early Renaissance painting traditions. Apart from this, the painting is also an artful and innovative study of emotional reactions and psychological states. The painting showcased naturalism that had never been seen before. The perspective, which is one of the painting’s biggest selling points, allows views to step right into the tense and dramatic scene, making the painting even more memorable.
Santa Maria delle Grazie, home of The Last Supper, was constructed on the order of The Duke of Milan, Francesco I Sforza. Guiniforte Solari, the primary architect, designed the convent and the construction of the church, which was completed by 1469, took decades. The Duke decided to have the church serve as the Sforza family burial site, and had the cloister and the apse rebuilt. The beautiful Dominican convent is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The Last Supper covers the end wall of the dining hall at the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie. The painting was commissioned by Ludovico Sforza, who wanted it to be the centerpiece of the mausoleum he wanted built for his family inside the church. In 1495, Leonardo began work on The Last Supper and after three years of on and off work, he completed the painting in 1498. Since the painting was intended to be centerpiece for the Sforza family mausoleum, the lunettes above the main painting are painted with Sforza coats-of-arms.
The Last Supper represents, like the name suggests, the scene of the last supper that Jesus shared with his apostles before his crucifixion. The mural showcases the story told in the Gospel of John, 13:21 of the shock and horror on the 12 apostles faces’ when Jesus announces that one of them is going to betray him. There’s a lot going on in the mural and everything from how the apostles are seated, their reaction in the painting, to the hidden meanings behind how the objects on the table are places having been the subject of countless studies by art and history scholars.