Last Supper Facts

Top 10 Interesting 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 10 fascinating Last Supper facts that is sure to get you excited.

10 Last Supper Facts That You Should Know

last supper facts - The Last supper Painting

The Last Supper Is Not a Traditional Fresco

One of the most surprising Last Supper facts is that it is not a fresco. Usually, when painting on the walls, traditional artists used the fresco painting method. This method uses water-based pigments on wet plaster. When painting the Last Supper, Leonardo da Vinci refrained from using fresco as it is a fast process. He wanted to capture more details in the painting and used oil and tempera instead of the fresco method to give himself more time. 

This gave Leonardo da Vinci ample time to incorporate details into the Last Supper painting. The unconventional media made the painting susceptible to damage after a few years.

last supper facts - Early copies

There Are Three Early Copies of the Last Supper Painting

There are three early copies of the Last Supper painting in existence today. It is widely believed that these copies were created by Leonardo da Vinci’s assistants. The recreated painting by Giampietrino, which is housed in the Royal Academy of Arts in London, served as the primary inspiration for the restoration of the original Last Supper painting. Cesare da Sesto and Andrea Solari created the other copies. Their replicas can be seen, in the Church of Saint Ambrogio in Switzerland and the Leonardo da Vinci Museum in Belgium, respectively.

last supper facts - Hammer and nails

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

The Last Supper Painting Is Not Located 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

The Missing Portion of the Last Supper 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

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

The Soundtrack Hidden in the Last Supper

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

Only a Small Portion of the Original Painting Still Remains Today

At the end of the 20th century, paint layers were removed and the original was as closely restored as possible using microscopic pictures, core samples, infrared reflectoscopy, and sonar. According to critics, only a small portion of the original painting by Leonardo da Vinci is in existence today. The majority of the painting has been ruined by botched restoration attempts and natural deterioration.

last supper facts - Ludovico Sforza

Last Supper and Leonardo’s Political Statement

Michael Ladwein claims that the painting makes a subliminal political connection to Leonardo's sponsor Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan. The painting was commissioned as part of the existing convent's reconstruction and Sforza intended to use it as his family's mausoleum. Like the majority of Italian cities at the period, Sforza and the Milanese court experienced several internal issues. Milan's advancement in the sciences and arts was aided by Ludovico. He regrettably developed a horrible reputation for his military campaigns and perceived lack of military prowess.

last supper facts - Conspiracy Theories

Last Supper Conspiracy Theories

There have been many conspiracy theories about the Last Supper painting by Leonardo da Vinci. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown and the eventual movie have further fueled many theories regarding the Last Supper Painting. The fictional book suggests two key mysteries concealed in this painting: the whereabouts of Christ's missing chalice (the holy grail) and the revelation that the person to the right of Jesus is not St. John the Apostle, but Mary Magdalene and that she and Jesus were married.

Last Supper Tickets & Tours

Skip-the-line Guided Tour of Da Vinci's Last Supper

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Historical Tour of Milan and the Last Supper

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Best of Milan Duomo Cathedral & Da Vinci's 'Last Supper' Tour

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Milan in One Day - With Duomo, Last Supper & Downtown Tour

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Renaissance Treasures Guided Walking Tour of Milan with ‘The Last Supper’

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Combo (Save 5%) : Leonardo's Vineyard + Last Supper Tickets

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Self-Guided Audio Tour of Santa Maria delle Grazie

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Frequently Asked Questions About Last Supper

Q. When was the Last Supper painted?

A. 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.

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

A. It is speculated that Leonardo da Vinci took around three years to complete the entire Last Supper painting.

Q. Where Is the Last Supper Painting located?

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

Q. What does the Last Supper painting tell us?

A. 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.

Q. Who painted the Last Supper?

A. The Last Supper is painted by Italian renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci.