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"The Last Supper" is a genius work by Leonardo da Vinci

If we talk about monuments of art and culture of world importance, one cannot fail to mention the paintings of Leonardo da Vinci. Undoubtedly, one of their most famous is his work "The Last Supper". Someone claims that the master was inspired by God's spark to write it, and someone claims that he sold his soul to the devil for the sake of such skill. One thing is indisputable - the skill and thoroughness with which the artist recreated all the nuances of the scene from the Gospel, still remain an unattainable dream for most painters.

At ukrburshtyn.com, we celebrate the brilliance of Leonardo da Vinci's artistry, and "The Last Supper" holds a special place in his remarkable legacy. This iconic painting continues to captivate audiences with its timeless beauty and profound storytelling. Step into the world of Leonardo and explore the depths of his genius through the brushstrokes of "The Last Supper."

So what secrets does this image hide? Read - and find out!

The history of the painting

Leonardo da Vinci received an order to write "The Last Supper" from his patron - Duke of Milan Ludovico Sforza. It happened in 1495, and the reason was the death of the ruler's wife, the modest and pious Beatrice d'Este. During her lifetime, the famous lover Sforza neglected communication with his wife for the sake of entertainment with friends, but still loved her in his own way. The annals state that after the death of his lady, he declared fifteen days of mourning, praying in his rooms and not leaving them for a minute. And after this period ended, he ordered a painting in memory of the deceased from the court artist (who happened to be Leonardo at that time).

The fresco is located in the Dominican church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Its writing lasted as long as three years (while it usually took about three months to complete such a painting) and was completed only in 1498. The reason for this was the unusually large size of the work (460×880 cm) and the innovative technique used by the master.

Leonardo da Vinci did not paint on wet plaster, but on dry plaster, in order to be able to see colors and details. In addition, he used not only oil paints, but also tempera - a mixture of pigment and egg white - which also became the reason for the rapid deterioration of the work. The picture began to decay already twenty years after the artist made the last stroke. Now, in order to preserve it for posterity, a whole set of special measures is being carried out. If this is not done, the fresco will completely disappear after 60 years.

Master's idea

Leonardo da Vinci's painting The Last Supper depicts one of the most famous and moving episodes in the Gospel. According to theological explanations, it was she who opened the way of the Lord to the cross, as the last battle with evil and death. At this moment, Christ's love for humanity was clearly and visibly manifested - He sacrificed divine light to go into death and darkness. Having shared the bread with the disciples, the Lord thereby joined each of us, left His testament. But at the same time, someone can reject this possibility - after all, God is not only love, but also freedom, and this is demonstrated by the act of Judas.

In order to adequately convey this deep and meaningful scene in paint, Leonardo did considerable preliminary work. As noted in the notes of his contemporaries, he walked the streets of Milan in search of role models. The master made them laugh, saddened and surprised, watched how people quarreled and reconciled, confessed their love and broke up - in order to then depict it in his work. That is why all participants of the Last Supper on the fresco are endowed with individuality, their own expression, posture and mood.

In addition, the painter abandoned traditional icon painting canons in favor of a realistic and natural image. At that time, painting Jesus and the apostles without the usual crowns, nimbus and mandorla (a golden glow around the entire figure) was a rather bold idea, which was even criticized by some priests. But after the work was completed, everyone unanimously recognized that no one had managed to convey the divine meal better.

Secrets of the painting The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci

It is known that da Vinci was not only a famous artist, but also an inventor, engineer, anatomist, scientist, and some even attribute to him a connection with various mystical societies, which were quite numerous in Europe in the 15th century. Therefore, thanks to the skill of their creator, the works of Leonardo da Vinci also carry a kind of mystery and mystery. And it is precisely around the "Last Supper" that such prejudices and hoaxes exist. So, what secrets has the creator encrypted?

According to historians who study the creative heritage of the Renaissance, the master of writing Jesus and Judas Iscariot was the most difficult. The Lord had to appear before the audience as the embodiment of kindness, love and piety, while Judas - to become his opposite, a dark antagonist. It is not surprising that da Vinci could not find suitable models. But one day during the service, he saw a young man in the church choir - his young face was so inspired and flawless that the painter immediately understood that this person could become a prototype of Christ. But even after his figure was painted, the artist corrected and corrected it for a long time, trying to achieve perfection.

It remained to depict only Iscariot - and again Leonardo could not find the right person. He went to the dirtiest and run-down areas of Milan, wandering for hours in low-quality taverns and ports, trying to find someone whose face would become a suitable model. And so, finally, luck smiled at him - he saw a drunk person in a roadside ditch. The artist ordered to take him to the church and, not even allowing him to wake up from intoxication, began to depict the image. After finishing the work, the drunkard said that he had already seen her once, and even participated - only that time they wrote Christ from him... According to contemporaries, this proved how thin the line is between a prosperous life and a fall - and how easy cross it!

It is also interesting that the rector of the church in which the fresco was located often distracted Leonardo da Vinci, indicating that he should work harder, and not stand for hours in front of the image - and even more so not to wander around the city in search of models! At last the painter was so fed up with this that he once promised the abbot that he would paint Judas with his face if he did not immediately stop commanding and pointing!

Disciple or Mary Magdalene?

There are still discussions about who Leonardo da Vinci depicted in the picture on the left hand of the Savior. According to some art critics, the gentle, graceful face of this character simply cannot belong to a man, which means that the artist introduced Mary Magdalene into the plot - one of the women who followed the Shepherd. Some go even further, suggesting that she was the legal wife of Jesus Christ. Confirmation of this is found in the location of the figures on the fresco - leaning towards each other, they form a stylized letter "M", which would mean "Matrimonio" - marriage. Other researchers do not agree with this, assuring that the outlines of the bodies can only be connected in the letter "V" - da Vinci's initials.

But there are other confirmations that Magdalene was the wife of Christ. Yes, in the Gospel you can see references to how she washed His feet with oil and wiped them with her hair (John 12:3), and this could only be done by a woman who was legally married to a man. In addition, some apocrypha claim that at the time of the Lord's crucifixion on Calvary, Mary was pregnant, and the daughter Sarah gave birth to became the progenitor of the French royal Merovingian dynasty.

Placement of figures and objects

The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci is distinguished not only by the realism and liveliness of human figures - the master carefully worked out their surrounding space, cutlery, and even the landscape. Each feature of the work contains a coded message.

For example, scientists found out that the order in which the figures of the apostles are placed on the fresco is not random at all - it corresponds to the sequence of the zodiac circle. Yes, if you follow this pattern, you can see that Jesus Christ was a Capricorn - a symbol of moving forward, to new heights and achievements, spiritual development. This sign is identified with Saturn - the deity of time, fate and harmony.

But the mysterious figure next to the Savior, which was already discussed above, is located under the sign of the Virgin. This is another proof in favor of the fact that the master showed Mary Magdalene in the painting.

During its existence, the fresco was threatened with destruction more than once. Yes, during World War II, an artillery shell that flew into the window of the church disfigured and partially destroyed all the walls - except for the one where the work was written!

The famous picture still exists - and opens new and new mysteries to us, the solution of which is just ahead. In the meantime, you can admire numerous copies and reproductions made of various materials. For example, the Last Supper made of amber, poured from gem crumb and encrusted with large stones, is simply amazing - it combines masterful execution and the mystery of the original!

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