Many times in life we must look at things in wonder. For centuries, disconcert plays a role in many people’s lives. One such situation you may be unaware of occurred in 1495. The Duke of Milan wanted to have a contest for artists. The quest was to see who could depict the best painting of an unknown event from their imagination. This painting would be placed in the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. So, word went out across the land to bring knowledge and talent and put their skills to the test.
Artists came from far and wide to show their talents. One such flagrant depicter had a reputation for never completing his works. He stood by the wayside for he wasn’t qualified to even be considered. But soon, others were rejected for their inequality of artistry. The list was quickly narrowed down to just two contenders. It was between the one you already know and another who was less fortunate to be second runner-up. Now as the story goes, these two artists did not think much of each other’s skills. In fact, they detested their perspective abilities and reputations. Despising each other brought tensions and deceit. After painting a mock version of the duke’s request, Leonardo da Vinci was awarded the job.
Depicting the unimaginable, yet showing great reverence for the somber occasion, his characters developed from common people serving as models – some were off the street and one was just out of prison. But of all those who posed for this infamous painting, it was the character of Jesus that Leonardo struggled with and could not accomplish…. at least not until he made amends with his colleague who wasn’t as lucky as him. Da Vinci could not paint Jesus’s eyes until he asked for forgiveness.
Looking into the eyes of those who don’t see as we, forgiveness is all Christ asks of us. In the reflections, deep in the portals of the subconscious, Jesus stands with us. His eyes, as in the painting of “The Last Supper,” pierces our hearts and minds. It should remind us of our own integrity–-primary, and our lives in His hands. And as we celebrate our Savior’s passing may we never forget we can all partake in the last supper. Just look into Christ’s eyes, and you will see.
Interesting Facts of “The Last Supper” Painting
- Leonardo, prior to this contest, had no experience painting large pictures. It took him four years to complete it.
- The original painting was 15 x 29 feet long.
- The Last Supper was originally painted by experimenting with tempura paint on a dry, plaster wall. Even before it was finished, it flaked off the walls. It had to be re-done a few times by da Vinci.
- Two exact copies of da Vinci’s Last Supper are known to exist. They were created by Leonardo’s assistants and are remarkably well preserved.
- The painting was made to depict Matthew 26:21.
- Very little of the original painting exists today. It was heavily damaged by Napoleon Bonaparte’s soldiers in the late 18th century, and then disintegrated by the Nazis in World War II. In fact, it has been restored seven times.
- In 1652, monastery residents cut a new door in the wall of the deteriorating painting, which removed a chunk of the artwork showing the feet of Jesus.
- All prior versions of “The Last Supper” had halos over the disciples and Jesus’s heads. However, Leonardo da Vinci did not paint them and many today speculate it was because he saw everyone as just ordinary people – not saints.
- Da Vinci’s drawings show that most bodily proportions use the fascinating Golden Ratio: two quantities are in the golden ratio if their ratio is the same as the ratio of their sum to the larger of the two quantities. Not just a simple painting!
- Want to see the original painting in person? You must book a viewing at least several months in advance. Each visit consists of fifteen minutes in groups of 20-25 visitors, and you must be dressed conservatively.