Last Supper

Top 11 Interesting Da Vinci's Last Supper Facts

The Last Supper painting has a long and wonderful history. Painted by Leonardo da Vinci on the north wall of the refractory in Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan, this masterpiece has a lot of secrets and facts associated with it.

Let’s take a look at 11 fascinating Last Supper facts that is sure to get you excited.

10 Last Supper Facts : Not-to-Miss Stories & Mysteries

last supper facts - The Last supper Painting

1. Not a Traditional Fresco

Contrary to belief, the Last Supper is not a fresco, the traditional wall-painting method. Leonardo da Vinci opted for oil and tempera instead to capture intricate details, allowing him more time for precision. This method uses water-based pigments on wet plaster. His choice, however, costed the painting vulnerable to damage over time.

last supper facts - Early copies

3. There are Three Early Copies

Three copies, likely crafted by Leonardo da Vinci's apprentices, exist. Giampietrino's version in London's Royal Academy of Arts guided the original's restoration. Cesare da Sesto and Andrea Solari also replicated it, found in the Church of Saint Ambrogio (Switzerland) and Leonardo da Vinci Museum (Belgium).

last supper facts - Hammer and nails

3. Da Vinci Used Hammer and Nail to Get the Ideal Perspective

The Last Supper has been hailed as one of the best examples of a one-point perspective. The symmetry and the angles of the painting give it a surreal depth. In order to achieve this, Leonardo da Vinci used nails hammered to the wall and string to mark out the angles and maintain the perspective of the Last Supper painting. This technique allowed him to blend the painting into the room.

last supper facts - Santa Maria delle

4. Not Displayed in a Museum

The Last Supper, in contrast to some of Leonardo da Vinci's other works, is not housed in any museum. It is maintained in Santa Maria delle Grazie convent in Milan, Italy. The Last Supper is painted on the north wall of the refractory inside the convent. The refractory has been converted to a controlled room to prevent further deterioration of the painting due to environmental factors.

last supper facts - The Missing Portion

5. The Missing Portion of the Painting

During the renovations in 1652 to the Santa Maria delle Grazie convent, which houses the Last Supper Painting, there was a hole cut into the painting to make a new doorway for the convent. This meant that a lower central part of the Last Supper painting which included, Jesus' feet, was lost.

last supper facts - The Depicted Meal

6. The Meal Depicted in The Last Supper

There has been much debate among scholars about the type of fish that is depicted in the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. Many assume that the fish on the table in the painting is either a herring or an eel. While the eel represents indoctrination and faith in Christ, the herring symbolizes a person with no faith.

last supper facts - The Hidden Soundtrack

7. The Hidden Soundtrack

Giovanni Maria Pala, an Italian artist, allegedly used chords from da Vinci's Last Supper painting to produce a 40-second ballad in 2007. Pala initially realized that the bread on the table, the hands of Jesus, and the Apostles can all be interpreted as musical notes by tracing five lines of musical staff across the painting.

last supper facts - Painting Remains

8. Symbolism in Details

The painting is rich in symbolism. Spilled salt next to Judas signifies a bad omen. Jesus is portrayed in an equilateral triangle, a divine symbol. Philip's question and Thomas's finger allude to biblical events. Peter, to the left of Jesus, wields a knife, foreshadowing his later attempt to protect Jesus by wounding a soldier's ear.

last supper facts - Ludovico Sforza

9. Last Supper and Leonardo’s Political Statement

Art historian Michael Ladwein suggests that the painting subtly ties to Leonardo's patron, Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan. It was commissioned as part of the convent's reconstruction, planned as Sforza's family mausoleum. Despite Ludovico's support for arts and sciences in Milan, his military campaigns and perceived lack of prowess tarnished his reputation during a period of internal strife.

last supper facts - Conspiracy Theories

10. Last Supper Conspiracy Theories

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown and the subsequent film adaptation have sparked numerous conspiracy theories about Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper painting. The book proposes two mysteries within the painting: the location of Christ's missing chalice (the holy grail) and the assertion that the figure to Jesus' right is not St. John the Apostle but Mary Magdalene, suggesting a marriage between them.

11. Hidden Judas and His Duality

Judas, the betrayer, is the only Apostle with a hidden face, cloaked in shadows, symbolizing the "movement of the soul." His hands, one reaching for bread and the other clutching a purse of money, symbolize his dual role in betraying Jesus.

Last Supper Tickets & Tours

Da Vinci's Last Supper Skip-the-Line Guided Tour
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Milan: City Center and Last Supper Guided Tour
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Milan: City Walking Tour with Milan Cathedral & Last Supper Guided tour
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Milan in a Day: Guided Tour of Downtown, Last Supper, Milan Cathedral & Duomo Museum Pass
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Renaissance Treasures Guided Walking Tour of Milan with ‘The Last Supper’
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Combo (Save 5%): Da Vinci's Last Supper Skip-the-Line Guided Tour + YesMilano City Pass: Attractions & Free Public Transport
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Frequently Asked Questions About Last Supper Facts

What is the Last Supper?

The Last Supper is a famous mural painting by Leonardo da Vinci located in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy. It depicts the biblical scene of Jesus Christ's last meal with his disciples before his crucifixion.

Who painted the Last Supper?

The Last Supper was painted by the Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci between 1495 and 1497. Leonardo is renowned for his innovative techniques and contributions to art and science.

When was the Last Supper painted?

Historians don't know the precise date of the painting. However, Leonardo da Vinci began painting the Last Supper between the years 1495 and 1496.

What is the size of the Last Supper Painting?

The painting measures approximately 15 feet by 29 feet (4.6 meters by 8.8 meters).

How long did Leonardo da Vinci take to paint The Last Supper?

Leonardo da Vinci took approximately two years to paint The Last Supper, from 1495 to 1497.

Where Is the Last Supper Painting located?

The Last Supper is located in the Santa Maria delle Grazie convent in Milan, Italy.

What does the Last Supper painting tell us?

Leonardo da Vinci captures the chaotic moments right after Jesus informs his disciples that one of them will betray him. The Last Supper captures the varied emotions of the disciples on hearing this news.

What makes the Last Supper Painting special?

The Last Supper is celebrated for its use of perspective, symbolism, and its depiction of the emotional reactions of the disciples. It's considered a masterpiece of Renaissance art and a cultural treasure.

Is the Last Supper a fresco?

No, the Last Supper is not a fresco. It was painted using an unusual technique called tempera and oil on a dry plaster wall, which contributed to its preservation challenges.

How was the perspective achieved in the Last Supper?

Leonardo da Vinci used innovative techniques, including a nail and thread, to achieve one-point perspective in the painting. This technique directed the viewer's attention to the central figure of Jesus.

Has the Last Supper undergone restoration?

Yes, the painting has undergone extensive restoration efforts, most notably from 1978 to 1999, to preserve and restore its original brilliance.

Is the Last Supper open to the public?

Yes, the Last Supper is open to the public, but it's advisable to book tickets well in advance due to its popularity and limited viewing slots.

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