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Friday, 18 December 2015

The Last Supper

The day before his crucifixion, Jesus and his twelve disciples took part in a Passover meal, when He predicted His imminent betrayal by Judas and death as a sacrifice for the sins of humanity. It was the last meal that Christ shared with his disciples.

The meal was roast lamb eaten in its entirety served with bitter herbs and unleavened bread. When Christ told his followers to eat bread and drink wine in memory of him, he instigated the Eucharist/Holy Communion/Mass, a ceremony that has been observed by Christians ever since.

The phrase, "The Last Supper" is not biblical but traditionally many Christians refer to the New Testament accounts of the last meal Jesus shared with his Apostles as the "Last Supper.”

In 1498 Leonardo Da Vinci, the State Engineer, Court Painter and Director of Court Festivals to Lodovico Sforza (Duke of Milan) painted a representation of Jesus' last Passover meal for the Dominicans of Santa Maria delle Grazie on the wall of their convent in Milan. The Last Supper was completed on February 9, 1498.

In his picture the head of Christ is not finished. Leonardo did not believe he could do it justice, as he was unable to give it the divine spirituality it warranted.

Leonardo used perspective lines to draw the lookers' attention to the figure of Christ.

The traitor Judas Iscariot can be recognized as the one whose arm has knocked over the salt cellar thus signifying bad luck. (Spilt salt was thought to be unlucky by the Romans.)

Leonardo said the painting was " Cose Mentale", "a spiritual thing".

He was one of the first artists to paint biblical characters without halos, instead looking like ordinary men.

On August 15, 1943, during World War II,  the refectory was struck by Allied bombing; A protective structure had been built in front of the da Vinci wall fresco, which prevented the painting from being struck by bomb splinters, but it may have been damaged by the vibration. From 1951 to 1954, a clean-and-stabilize restoration was undertaken.

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