Saturday, March 29, 2008

Bernie's Ramblings: Interesting facts about Leonardo da Vinci's painting, "The Last Supper"...

This week I want to share some interesting facts about one of the most famous paintings of all time... "The Last Supper" by Leonardo da Vinci. I promise to continue my series on "What inspires me to create art" very soon. Old Masters like da Vinci and their works are a major inspiration for me and they also fuel my love and appreciation of art.
Hope you enjoy...

"The Last Supper"... Leonardo da Vinci

~~ The Last Supper is a mural painting by Leonardo da Vinci for his patron Duke Lodovico Sforza. ~~ The Last Supper was painted on a wall of the refectory of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan between 1495 and 1498. It was painted on a dry wall rather than on wet plaster, so it is not a true fresco. It measures 14 feet by 30 feet.... 13' 10" x 29' 7 1/2" to be exact.
~~ Leonardo began work on The Last Supper in 1495 and completed this monumental masterpiece in only three years in 1498.
~~ The Last Supper began to acquire its reverential reputation as soon as it was finished, even though the painting began to rapidly deteriorate. Leonardo refused to work in fresco, so he tried an experimental technique to paint on the wall of the monk's refectory. The experiment failed and humidity in the room caused the paint to start flaking as soon as 1517. By 1586 it could hardly even be seen.

~~ In 1652 the monks decided to cut a doorway through the center of the painting because it had so seriously deteriorated that they determined it was no longer worth saving, resulting in the feet of Jesus and part of the table being destroyed in the process.
~~ In 1796 the room was used by French troops as a stable. Despite orders from Napoleon that the masterpiece not be damaged in any way, soldiers took to throwing clay at the faces of the Apostles.~ In 1800 a flood covered the entire painting. Green mold had to be removed from its surface.
~~ In 1901 Gabriele D'Annunzio wrote what was considered to be the last of its several epitaphs in his famous Ode on the Death of a Masterpiece... "O Poets, it is no longer".
~~ It has under gone several renovations through the centuries... Because of this it cannot be certain whether the faces still resemble Leonardo's original painting; at least one (Thomas) definitely differed from the original at least until the restoration which finished in 1999. During the last restoration from 1979-1999, one of the most large-scale in history, a lot of color-levels from former restorations were removed.
~~ In 1943 a WWII air raid reduced the monastery to rubble; miraculously, The Last Supper, protected by sandbags on the rear wall, survived. (Pictured above)

~~ The monastery was restored and the painting can be seen in its original setting. (Pictured above)

Thanks for dropping by... as always... I would love to hear your comments.

Primary Source: The World of Leonardo 1452 - 1519. Time Life Library of Art, Time Life Books, 1966

1 comment:

ujwala said...

thank you for putting this together there were many facts which i came across for the first time.