THE LAST SUPPER, I was introduced to while reading Dan Brown’s DA VINCI CODE and the conspiracy regarding Mary Magdalene made me even more curious about the painting.
Painted in form of a mural with the medium being oil-based, it measures up to 460 cm x 880cm and “covers an end wall of the dining hall at the monastery of Santa Maria Delle Grazie in Milan, Italy”. Coming into existence during the period of the High renaissance, (1495-8) there are multiple aspects to the painting leading from physical to psychological aspects which comes from the fact that the High Renaissance style was the epitome of art.
The reason for the paintings constant deterioration since its birth is because of the alterations made by the painter in the base surface thinking it of as a wooden panel but when in reality the base being a stone wall and the style being fresco painting, the rejection of traditional technique but in good faith, alterations led to its degeneration right after birth.
It is also said that in order to achieve artistic perfection and to create a certain amount of illusion, Da Vinci uses a hammer and a nail to “achieve the one-point perspective”.
The story behind the painting goes like this, It was the last and final meal that Jesus Christ shared with his disciples right before his crucifixion. The bread symbolizing his flesh and the wine symbolizing his blood suggests that Jesus is the center when looking at the dynamics of the composition.
Bringing attention to the details of the “Holy Grail” which according to many scholars is said to be the cup used by Jesus Christ at the last supper and also as the collector of Jesus’s blood by Joseph of Arimathea post-crucifixion. Dan Brown’s book brings altogether a different meaning to it by using it as a metaphor for womb bearing a child. In here comes a term “Sangreal”, a term first used by Thomas Mallory which means holy blood of the christ giving it altogether a newer definition in theory but again without any concrete testament as the chalice seems to be missing from the painting.
All these conspiracies and non testified theories make it difficult for one to distinguish fiction from facts. But in doing so it also brings out the questions such as :
Did Leonardo purposefully alter some of the histories?
How many of the details are hidden from the viewer’s eyes?
A still life painting so full of life that one can just view it from their perspective-taking it to that higher innocence by adding one’s experience and innocence when it comes to deciphering this painting. The shock, innocence, betrayal, feminine side an Apostel John everything comes into its original existence through every eye that ponders on these emotions while trying to figure out the complexity of the painting.
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Written By: Aakanksha Dassi
Editor and Team Lead: Ashutosh Sharma
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