Leonardo’s “Last Supper” is a priceless piece of art with much hidden meaning and obvious talents bestowed upon a wall. Under the study of Verrocchio as a painter and a sculptor, he was able to use his skills in creating a very detailed and a very naturalistic piece of work that would be remembered for hundreds of years. He was also able to create characters with amazing individuality. Not only was his portrayal of the characters magnificent, but the symbolism he used which emphasized the story being told in the “Last Supper”.
Lodovico Sforza chose Leonardo to create “The Last Supper” in the refectory of the Dominican Church of S. Maria delle Grazie in Milan. The Abate of the S. Maria delle Grazie saw Leonardo work from morning until night on “The Last Supper” without eating. Although, there were times he would stop painting for days at a time; or, he would work on a specific character for just a few moments and then leave to continue working on it later. He worked on it from 1495 thru 1498 (Strauss, 27).
Before Leonardo began painting the actual portrait, he put down a substance which was suppose to absorb the tempora and protect the tempora from the moisture on the wall. Unfortunately, the substance was proved unsuccessful, and by 1517 it began to deteriorate.
In May 1556 a painter Giovanni Batista Armenini said that the painting was ‘so badly affected that nothing is visible but a mass of blots'(Heydenreich, 18). The painting has continued to decay in the following centuries. It was further damaged by restorations made by careless artists and by the addition of a doorway put in the lower part of the painting. Yet even to this day his painting “The Last Supper” is widely known and visited by many tourists each year. …
…ical movement and mental emotion by the pause between two great emotions which are the “momentarily stiffening” at an extreme point of excitement and at the horror of being “startled out of tranquility” (Heydenreich, 67). The painting portrays both expression and emotion. This combination complements each other. The expressions allow the viewers to see the emotions the characters are feeling. Their frozen movement allows one to see they are human. We can see both their outward and inward reactions. It is as if Leonardo had been there, and he had taken a picture of the marvelous meal. He definitely accomplished his goal in portraying his “Last Supper” as a realistic piece of art. The symbolism, the individualized personalities of the characters, and the skills such as the light perspective and spacial perspective blended together to fo!rm a photograph-like painting.