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Rita Zughbaba


AP English; Period 5

7 April 2016

The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo da Vincis "Last Supper" is a priceless piece of art with much hidden meaning and

obvious talents displayed upon a wall. He was able to use his skills in creating a very detailed

and naturalistic piece of work that would be remembered for hundreds of years. Leonardo Da

Vinci was also able to create characters with amazing individuality and identifiable reactions

due to their gestures/body language. The painting is currently located in the refectory of the

Dominican monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. Leonardo has a reputation of not

finishing his artwork, such as the Mona Lisa, yet he managed to finish this painting that he was

requested to paint by the ruler of Milan, Duke Ludovico Sforza.

It is quite obvious that the skills used in the creation of the "Last Supper" was

magnificent. The scenario in the painting is not particularly when Jesus states that one of his

apostles will betray him, but the moment after when the reaction takes place. His apostles are his

closest followers and so this is terribly shocking. Whats displayed is an incredible set of

reactions from Jesuss twelve apostles. In the painting, Jesus partakes in the Eucharist, also

known as Holy Communion. One may notice that Jesus reaches out towards the bread and wine.

Yet, his hands are so far apart that it seems that he is also reaching towards the bowl next to the

bread. At the same time, Judas, who is to the right of Jesus, is also reaching for that same bowl.

Thus, allowing Jesus to know which of his apostles betrayed him. The one that shares the bowl

with him. Furthermore, Judas was paid thirty pieces of silver by the Romans. Looking closely at

Judas, one can notice him tightly grasping a small sack, containing the silver.

The figures themselves are monumental in this space and too crowded in the table,

revealing a kind of energy and chaos that surrounds the peacefulness of Jesus Christ. Leonardo

Da Vinci combines all the components in which he had learned; he is thinking about

mathematics, science, and the unification of all these things.Also, in earlier paintings that

Leonardo Da Vinci would of seen contains a lot of decorations, lots of room on the table, and

Judas on the other side of the table. Yet, Leonardo simplifies the scene to a more realistic

standpoint. Scholars contrast that belief by stating that the Last Supper would most likely be a

closed/private event, so, the apostles would be gathered around the table and not vertically

across. On the other hand, professor Adele Reinhartz believes that Leonardo strategically aligned

them vertically to show that Jesus is not hosting a private dinner, as seems to be the case in the

gospels, but rather presiding over the head table of every meal shared by those who broke bread

in that refectory(Reinhartz 1).

Now, to the right of Jesus is Judas who is facing away from him. His neck being turned

reminds everyone that he will hand himself later that night. In addition, Peter, Christs protector,

lashes in with a knife behind his back. Defensively demanding to know who had betrayed Jesus

Christ. Also, to the left of Jesus is another group of men with extensive body language. Thomas,

who is the apostle with his finger pointing up indicates him asking, is this something ordained

by God, is this his plan that one of us shall betray you. James Major and Philip, the men next to

Thomas, both show opposition in their gestures, one throwing his arm in and one throwing his

arm out. This action shows the extreme differentiation in reactions between the apostles and the

variety of actions.

In conclusion, to preserve this painting due to the materials used and age, the room must

constantly be at room temperature. So, only twenty-five people every fifteen minutes can view

this spectacular painting. The painting is in terrible condition; keep in mind this is not how

people viewed it when it was newly painted. Leonardo experimented with a combination of oil

paint and tempera, in an environment where fresco would traditionally be used. Furthermore,

Leonardo used dry plaster instead of wet plaster and so the paint never really adhered to the wall.

The painting began to deteriorate soon after it was completed. Overall, He took much time to

express every detail of each Apostle and Jesus, especially Judas. He also emphasized Jesus

greatness by giving him a serious, calm attitude. Leonardo Da Vinci makes his painting unique

and special to the others during the High Renaissance by adding symbolism and gestures so the

viewer can analyze the painting in their own interpretation. To this day, The Last Supper

painted by Leonardo Da Vinci is still one of the most famous pieces of art, and will continue to

be for hundreds of years.


Works Cited

Reinhartz, Adele. "Focus On Last Supper." Focus On Last Supper. Oxford Biblical

Studies. Web. 02 Apr. 2016. <http://global.oup.com/obso/focus/focus_on_lastsupper1/>.

"Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper ItalianRenaissance.org." Analysis of the Art of

Renaissance Italy. ItalianRenaissanceorg, 21 June 2012. Web. 02 Apr. 2016.


"The Last Supper (1495-1598)." Last Supper, Leonardo Da Vinci: Meaning,

Interpretation. Visual Arts-Cork. Web. 02 Apr. 2016.