12 Amazing Things About The Last Supper: Part 4

10) Mural FAIL

At the time, frescos were made by painting tempura paints onto we plaster which would help preserve and extend the life of the image. This time Da Vinci was painting on dry plaster so he would have much more vivid coloring which he did achieve…for a while. A few years after the mural was finished it began to deteriorate, and the painting has been in a perpetual state of restoration ever since.

11) When Was It Finished?

Art historians all agree that Da Vinci started the mural in 1495, but from there they tend to butt heads. No one is quite sure when it was completed. Some say 1497 while others think 1498. We know that his work was slowed down due to working on other projects, and that’s about it.

12) What’s For Dinner?

Most people believed that the food being consumed by Jesus and the Disciples was simply bread and wine, mainly due to the fact that the bible specifically lists these items, but during a 1997 restoration the menu changed. It was discovered that on one of the plates to the left of Jesus there’s eel garnished with orange pieces being served as well. Part of the reason that it was probably added is that eels and oranges was a popular meal in the 1400’s, not to mention one Da Vinci’s favorites.

12 Amazing Things About The Last Supper: Part 3

7) Center Of Attention

Da Vinci wanted Jesus to be the focus of the image, which is obvious and understandable. That’s why there are six disciples on each said of him, and if you look closely, all of the imagery’s lines of perception in both the back and foreground perfectly align with Jesus’ head.

8) Who’s The Boss?

The mural’s patron was the Duke of Milan, Lodovico Sforza, who at the time was trying make a good impression to both his subjects and his peers with elaborate forms of art and architecture. Sforza chose the location and the subject matter, Da Vinci had no say in it. Fun fact: This is the same Lodovico Sforza that the character of the same name in the television series Borgia was based off of.

9) Standing Out In A Crowd

The event of the last supper had been an art topic that had been tackled many many times before and Da Vinci wanted to make his depiction of the subject matter unique. Previous paintings tried to focus on the entire event by including lot’s of symbolism associated with the affair and with characters that look as if they are each floating around in their own little world. Da Vinci’s Last Supper on the other hand is focusing on the exact moment that Jesus’ informed his disciples of his upcoming betrayal and fast approaching death. To recreate the moment he focused on creating extremely vivid and accurate facial expressions for the disciples. He called the act of painting emotion “movements of the soul.” One other way Da Vinci broke the traditional rules was his inclusion of Judas Iscariot. Typically in previous works, Judas would either be separated from the devoted disciples or was giving his betraying kiss. Here Da Vinci intentionally included him at the table, amid the others to emphasize the fact that Judas was a human being just like the others.

12 Amazing Things About The Last Supper: Part 2

4) Been Through Hell

If you’re over 500 years old, you’re bound to have seen some bad times, which this mural certainly has. It’s actually a miracle that the it’s survived at all. At one point, Napolean’s armies used the room as a stable for their horses and stored hay there, and though they were ordered to leave the mural alone, they still ended up throwing clay all over it. Later on in 1800, there was a flood which resulted in the growth of green mold which ultimately covered the entire wall. Later on in 1943, the building was destroyed during bombing in WWII. The mural was spared due to it being protected with sandbags and only received minor injury. The monastery was rebuilt around the mural after the war ended.

5) Say Cheese

It’s speculated, but not proven that the painting includes two self portraits of Da Vinci according to art expert Ross King. He believes that the two figures to the left of Jesus, which are Thomas and James the Lesser, are modeled after Da Vinci himself. King came to this conclusion by comparing the figures to another portrait of Da Vinci and believes that the resemblances of the noses, hair styles and beards are far too similar to be a coincidence. It’s actually been theorized many times that Da Vinci included himself into many of his works, but again there’s no solid proof.

6) Don’t Push

Da Vinci wasn’t exactly known for being the fastest artist. He actually was quite the opposite. Da Vinci had a bad habit of procrastination and abandoning works all together on occasion. At one point, while working on the Last Supper the prior of Santa Maria delle Grazie began harassing Da Vinci and trying to get him to speed up his progress. Da Vinci retaliated by threatening to use the prior as his model for Judas Iscariot. The prior left him alone.

12 Amazing Things About The Last Supper: Part 1

Leonardo Da Vinci is by far the most famous High Renaissance artist he world knows of. Even the average laymen that has absolutely no knowledge or education on any art form knows the name and is aware of at least some of his paintings, and typically one of those painting is The Last Supper. This masterpiece that Da Vinci gifted to the world is not simply some pretty picture though. It’s history and background are just as interesting, if not more so, than it’s creator.

1) Size Does Matter

While people are highly aware of the image itself, most don’t realize that it’s not a painting on canvas and that it’s size is much more grand than just a couple feet. The Last Supper is actually a mural in the dining hall of what used to be a monastery. It’s actual size is 15 x 29 feet. On top of that, you may notice in photos of the wall, there’s a doorway that cuts off the bottom half of Jesus. At the time of the painting, that doorway wasn’t there and Jesus’s bottom half was part of the mural. The door was added to the room and the altercation of the mural happenned in 1650.

2) His Right Hand…Man?

The standard belief is that the mural is a depiction of Jesus with his Twelve Disciples, which obviously makes sense, and that the person sitting to his immediate right is the Apostle John. But people can’t help but notice how feminine John appears to be so it’s been a popular theory that it’s not John, but actually Mary Magdalene. The problem there is Magdalene was not a disciples and the bible makes no mention of her participation in the last supper.

3) Now That’s A Stretch

There’s a theory that Da Vinci incorporated a subliminal letter M into the painting by using Jesus’ and Judas’ pose together. The M supposedly stands for Magdalene and apparently implies that she was one of the disciples. The belief is seriously flawed since the names of all 12 disciples are known and the Bible clearly lists off their presence at the Last supper and had Magdalene attended that would make 13 disciples. Da Vinci Code type conspiracy theorists also believe that Jesus and Michael’s/Magdalene’s arms form a V which was a female symbol of the womb and is supposed to suggest that Jesus and Magdalene had an intimate relationship. These are immensely weak arguments so most people dismiss the theory.

Why The Vitruvian Man is so Important to Modern Art?

Leonardo da Vinci had one of the most intriguing minds. He was good at science, art and could study difficult subjects by himself. He was acclaimed during his time and still influences modern society because of his earlier inventions and theories. His most notable works include the “Mona Lisa”, his theory of the flying machines, and draft of the “Vitruvian Man”.

The Vitruvian Man comprises of the epitomes of the male human form. This name borrows from the Ancient Roman architect Vitruvius and his work.

The Vitruvian Man is a drawing done on paper and has handwritten notes. The drawing showcases two male figures overlaid on each other. The diagram illustrates the arms and legs at different angles. One of the figures has the legs slightly apart and arms coming out of the shoulders at right angles. The other man has reasonably spread his legs and his arms are at a different angle from the first drawing.

The head and torso of these two figures completely cover each other. They are both adorned with a square and circle to display the geometric extents of the body. The marking on the body demonstrates the points that form comparative measurements. There are also shadings and notes that detail the anatomical features.

Both Vitruvius and da Vinci had passion for ideas outside their main areas of expertise. They both loved the idea of geometry and proportions. In his designs, da Vinci employed his knowledge of mathematics, astronomy and medicine. They helped him perfect his architectural designs.

What they came up with influences how the volume of irregular objects is measured. The Vitruvian Man represents the ideologies that Leonardo was advancing. It represents all the interest that da Vinci had. It combines his passion for art and science.

These two lines of study become one in the Vitruvian Man. The two are normally regarded separately but this is changing. Scientists are working with artists to come up with inventive designs that are also beautiful.

The combination of art and science presents a new and exciting angle to creations. Da Vinci understood that how the human body works can be equated to the intricacies of the greater universe. This principal still has application in various schools of thought. He meant to combine man and nature and portray them as a single entity. They are similar yet different.

Da Vinci had a brilliant mind that is behind the schemes for later machines that were actualized hundreds of years later. His discoveries are still making an impact. It is like he saw the future and imagined things way before they would be actualized.

He had traits of a Renaissance man because of his interest in art, science, and everything. He also possessed traits of a modern man with his interest in discovering the truth, placing man in his place in the universe and linking things together or finding correlation between items.

The Vitruvian Man is an embodiment of mathematics and artistic theories. Its value is in revealing the Leonardo’s nature and his brilliance. It shows his scientific and artistic dexterity and is a symbol of his advanced and inventive theories. These ideas are still useful in modern society and affect innovation.

Why is the Mona Lisa so famous?

Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is one of the most recognized pieces of art in the world. It has been analyzed and criticized by the art world for hundreds of years. Why are people so fascinated with this painting? Is it because da Vinci was such an incredible painter and overall artist? The painting is one of the great mysteries of the art world. Who was the subject and why does she seem to be smirking? There are many theories about da Vinci’s intentions with this painting. Could the painting actually be over analyzed? There may be no mystery at all.

The Mona Lisa took around three years to complete. Da Vinci worked on it from 1503 to 1506. This painting is over 500 years old yet is still relevant today. The most obvious reason why people are so fascinated with this painting is the expression the woman is wearing. She seems to be smiling but it’s a closed mouth smile. Does the smile come from her eyes, her mouth or both? Many think she’s smiling that way because the subject actually had no teeth. Others speculate that she was either pregnant or had just had a child. It could be that da Vinci had a special relationship with this woman and she was sharing a secretive, conspiring smirk with the artist.

The subject of the painting is also a mystery. Many believe she was a woman from Florence Italy named Lisa Gherardi. This is speculation from art historians. Some believe there really is no mystery. There is a theory held that this was simply a portrait commissioned by a loved one of the subject. It was common in those days for a husband to have a portrait painted of his wife. The subject may have been the wife of a wealthy man who wanted a way to immortalize his wife’s beauty.

Leonardo da Vinci himself was a very interesting man who dabbled in many different kinds of art, along with science and other endeavors. He was ahead of his time in his art and his inventions. Da Vinci has to be part of the reason people love to talk about this painting so much. One wonders what kind of relationship da Vinci had with the subject. Did he direct her to give this mysterious smile? It makes you consider what da Vinci would think if he knew that over 500 years later people were still dissecting the meaning behind his most famous work of art.

If you want to see the Mona Lisa in person, travel to Paris France. It is held in the Louvre behind bullet proof glass. The fact that it is so protected shows how valuable and unique the painting is. Since Da Vinci himself can’t answer the questions people have about the painting, one can only speculate. What exactly was his goal in painting the Mona Lisa? Perhaps it really is over analyzed and was simply a portrait commissioned by someone. It’s unlikely that the truth will ever really be known but it is fun to speculate. The mystery behind this painting is the reason we’re still talking about it today.