Investigate some of the wackier conspiracy theories about the Last Supper — some say we have an apocalyptic flood to look forward to in the year 4006
The subject of The Last Supper is Christ’s final meal with his apostles before he is betrayed by Judas. It depicts the moment he announces “One of you will betray me,” and how each apostle reacts. One of the world’s most famous paintings, this 15th century mural can be found in the refectory of the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie.
Da Vinci began working on The Last Supper in 1495 and finished it in 1498. It is technically astounding: every element of the painting directs one’s attention to the midpoint of the composition — Christ’s head. It’s a classic example of one-point linear perspective. There is also symbolism in the composition: in the centre, Christ’s body forms an equilateral triangle, and his apostles are divided into four sets of three. There are four Gospels in the Bible, and three is the number of the Trinity.
The painting itself is in a poor and worsening condition, in spite of people’s best efforts. Instead of using the tried-and-tested method of tempera on wet plaster - the preferred one for fresco painting - Da Vinci opted to try using dry plaster. It achieved a more varied, vivid palette, but at the cost of longevity: the painted plaster began to flake off soon after, and attempts to restore it have been ongoing ever since. See it while you still can.
Each apostle can be identified through small touches. For example, Judas clutches a purse containing his reward for betraying Christ, and Peter holds a knife which he will later use to sever the ear of a soldier as he attempts to prevent Christ’s arrest in Gethsemane.
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