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Video:Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper

with Shelley Esaak

da Vinci's The Last Supper is one of the most famous paintings of all time because of its history and quality. See more about Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper painting in this educational video.See Transcript

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Transcript:Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper

Why da Vinci's The Last Supper Was Created

Leonardo da Vinci worked for Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, for nearly eighteen years. The Duke decided he wanted this particular religious scene painted and Leonardo, decided painting it made perfect financial sense.

Facts About da Vinci's The Last Supper

The painting is huge, 460 x 880 cm and it covers an entire large wall. The original mural is on a wall of the refectory in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy. da Vinci began working on it in 1495, and finished Last Supper in 1498. It's a remarkable composition because the disciples are all displaying very human, identifiable emotions. Secondly, every single element of the painting directs one's attention straight to the midpoint of the composition, Christ's head.

What da Vinci Interpreted to Create the Last Supper

Last Supper is Leonardo's visual interpretation of an event chronicled in all four of the Gospels. The evening before Christ was betrayed by one of his disciples, he gathered them together to eat, told them he knew what was coming and washed their feet. As they ate and drank together, Christ gave the disciples explicit instructions on how to eat and drink in the future, in remembrance of him. It was the first celebration of the Eucharist, a ritual still performed.

Images in da Vinci's The Last Supper

Looking across the picture from left to right:
  • Bartholomew, James Minor and Andrew form a group of three
  • Judas, Peter and John form the next group of three
  • Christ is in the center
  • Thomas, James Major and Philip are next
  • Matthew, Thaddeus and Simon comprise the last group of three figures


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