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The Last Supper By Leonardo Da Vinci Art Essay

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By the end of the fourteenth century, the Black Death killed off a third of the European population. After the event, people were all set for a transformation. Gradually, new ideas and viewpoint started to spread from Florence Italy. All through the Renaissance, there was an upsurge of new ideas, attitudes, and art work of the new era. These new ideas stimulated new look on these artwork, literature, and judgment. Leonardo Da Vinci was a key figure in these new ideas and paintings during the Renaissance Period.

The Renaissance is described as “The humanistic revival of classical art, architecture, literature, and learning that originated in Italy in the 14th century and later spread throughout Europe.” This movement lasted approximately from the 14th to 17th centuries. Commencing in Italy, this significant art movement rapidly expanded all through Western Europe. Historians consider that the humanist approach paused at a point halfway flanked by medieval supernaturalism and the modern scientific and critical manner. Medievalists perceive humanism as the terminal product of the “Middle Ages.” Humanism is regarded as a philosophy, not a religion.   Humanism started as the traditionalist drifted clear of medieval Christianity and resulted in bold independence of the medieval tradition. Humanism was based on the idea that life on Earth had a point of its own; a person did not have to reside unhappily on the way to heaven. Humanists consider that life was filled with beauty, waiting to be discovered.

In this paper I will be analyzing “The Last Supper,” by Leonardo Da Vinci. It is a fresco, signifying that it is directly painted on a wall. The “Last Supper” is fascinating in several ways. In its massive simplicity, the arrangement of the setting is masterful; the strength of its appearance hails from the eye-catching distinction in the attitudes of the twelve apostles as juxtaposed to Christ. Leonardo did not select the depiction of the traitor Judas long-established in the iconographic tradition; he depicted, rather, that instant of maximum nervousness as associated with the New Testament, “One of you which eateth with me will betray me.” Each and every one of the disciples-as human beings who do not comprehend what is about to take place-are disturbed, whereas Christ alone, mindful of his divine assignment, sits in lonesome, transfigured tranquility. Only one other person shares the undisclosed information: Judas, who is both part of and yet barred from the movement of his companions; in this seclusion he becomes the second lonely character- the guilty one-of the group.

“The Last Supper” by Leonardo Da Vinci

All through history, numerous works of art are both produced and damaged, and it is only the real works of art that people commit to memory and hold on to for years following their creation. Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper is one of these pieces. It is more than five hundred years old, but still one of the most renowned and familiar paintings in the present day (Lewis and Susan, 1995).

Nearly everyone is familiar with the Last Supper. As stated by the bible, significant events occurred during the Last Supper, including a declaration by Jesus that one of his disciples would deceive him and the first communion. In addition, the Last Supper was a profound Biblical event, in which Jesus shared a final banquet with his disciples. Even though this subject matter occurs in several works of art for instance, works by Tintoretto (Kren and Daniel, 2008), The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci is the most celebrated and has been the focus of many discussions.

I chose Da Vinci’s The Last Supper is since it’s a work of art that I am familiar with.  I’ve spotted it before, and it’s very well known. You can ask any person about it, and virtually everyone has heard of it and is familiar with its description. It’s very famed, and is an extremely well known piece of art. In actual fact, it is regarded as one of the most famous portrait and spiritual paintings of all time, together with The Mona Lisa and Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam (Kren and Daniel, 2008).   In addition, it is a painting that is frequently seen in pop culture, for example in Mel Brook’s History of the World, Part 1. In spite of seeing the painting repeatedly and in many different ways, I still wasn’t familiar with the history behind the painting. I didn’t know precisely at what time it was painted, where it was painted, what type of painting it is, and why Da Vinci decided to paint it. I thought it would be nice to write about this piece with the aim of learning more about it while writing my paper.

As already acknowledged, The Last Supper was painted by Leonardo Da Vinci, an Italian artist from the town of Vinci.   He is one of the most extraordinary painters, architects, and gifted philosophers of all time. Da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452, in the neighborhood of Vinci but spent a large part of his life in Florence where he started painting and after a particular period- painting. When he was fourteen, Leonardo began working as a studio boy to Andrea del Verrocchio, who at the time was one of the most acclaimed painters (Kenneth, 1939). He grew to be a self-dependent master in 1478, at which time he started being commissioned for a variety of works of art. Da Vinci commenced painting The Last Supper in 1495 for his patron Duke Ludovico Sforza (the Duke of Milan), whom he started to work for in 1482. Leonardo’s “Last Supper” is a priceless piece of art with a great deal of concealed meaning and noticeable talents

conferred upon a wall. He was capable of using his skills in producing a very comprehensive and naturalistic piece of work that would be kept in mind for hundreds of years. He was also capable of creating persons with remarkable uniqueness. Not only was his depiction of the characters superb, but the symbolism he employed which lay emphasis on the story being told in the “Last Supper.” The Last Supper was painted in the refectory of the Dominican Church of S. Maria delle Grazie in Milan, and was destined to be a symbol of religious devotion (Chubb, 1968).  Some people maintain that that the painting took more than ten years to finalize, whereas many others say it was completed in two years. It’s imperative to note that if finished in two years, it was quite an achievement for Da Vinci, who had a habit of procrastinating his work, and left several of his works incomplete.

Leonardo’s “Last Supper” was in the past thought to be a fresco. Nevertheless, it is not a true fresco since it was painted on a dry plaster rather than a wet one. He wanted to make the painting as detailed comprehensive as possible, as he wanted to portray human appearance and feeling on the character’s faces. Da Vinci was trying out new techniques of painting and, regrettably, his new technique was not of high-quality for protecting art over lengthy episodes. The masterpiece is painted on a layer of dry plaster. He chose this medium due to the need for more time to paint precise expressions, which was unworkable on wet plaster as he would get a very short duration (Kenneth, 1939). The Last Supper, painted on dry plaster is in reality Leonardo Da Vinci’s trial method of painting. Nevertheless, this technique is regarded a failure, as it has not endured the test of time. Prior to starting the painting, Leonardo covered the wall with a coating of resin, which is a mixture of pitch and mastic. In addition, he utilized chalk in the process of coating. To cordon the painting he used tempra which permitted him to emphasize the particulars of human emotion. Unfortunately, the substance proved unsuccessful, and by 1517 the piece began to deteriorate (Edward, 1928). By 1556, the painting was by now regarded as ruined and unrecognizable- a painter Giovanni Batista Armenini said that the painting was so badly affected that “not anything is noticeable but a mass of blots” (Lewis and Susan, 1995). The painting has kept on decaying in the subsequent centuries. In fact, it was so unrecognizable due to additional damage made by careless artists who were trying to restore the painting and by the addition of an entrance way put in the lower part of the painting. It took many years of wide-ranging refurbishment so as to have the piece look as it was initially painted. The very last and the most successful restoration of the Last Supper painting occurred from 1978 to 1999 (Kren and Daniel, 2008). The dining room of the convent was cordoned off and the temperature settings inside the room were kept under control for the aim of restoration work. The life of the Last Supper painting has been significantly extended owing to the latest restorations. As previously mentioned, The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci is the primary great figure work of art of the High Renaissance and the ultimate understanding of its theme. The painting depicts Jesus and his twelve disciples at the last supper, right at the instant where Jesus informs them “One of you shall betray me.” They are seated at a long table that is parallel to the picture plane. The room is open and tranquil, and Christ has his arms held out in willing trust. The twelve apostles are all clustered into sets of three and all display expressions of shock upon hearing Jesus’ declaration except Judas, the one responsible for betraying Jesus. He is inclined back into the shadows, and is shown to be holding a bag of money to his chest (Chubb, 1968). Prior to Da Vinci’s era, it was customary for portrayal of the last supper to include Judas detached from the rest of the group. Da Vinci positions him in the painting right in the heart of things, yet he still manages to disconnect him from the rest of the disciples. The painting exactly conveys the story of the last supper in one setting.

Presently, Leonardo’s “Last Supper” is still a significant work of art, as it was significant when it was first painted. Much like the way Judas was painted in with the rest of the disciples was an innovative thought; the look on the disciple faces was as well new. Several paintings of Jesus and his disciples at the last supper have been created, but by no means has one appeared quite as real. The looks on the disciple’s faces make them appear like real people acting in response to something they have listened to. The group is in deep and dramatic excitement, with their hands out in astonishment and question at Jesus’ words. They come out lifelike in the piece, similar to people who have in reality heard shocking news. The observer can just sense the anxious excitement sweeping through the group of disciples. The disciples are assembled into groups of three and attached all the groups together through their hand movements giving this piece a symmetrically aesthetic sensation. Furthermore, Da Vinci’s painting is a masterpiece due to his exceptional application of point perspective (Kenneth, 1939). The way it is painted on the wall makes it seem to be a continuation of the room. Jesus, the most important person in the painting, has been positioned in front of three windows that are in the rear of the room, and he is framed by the center window with an arched pediment. His head functions as the central and vanishing point of this piece, plus all lines lead right to him. The viewer’s eyes and attention is immediately attracted right to Jesus. It is apparent that Jesus functions as the vital magnet. The use of proper perspective was quite a novel idea when it came to painting, and Da Vinci utilized it superbly. A few individuals even argue that it is one of the greatest applications of one point perspective ever produced. Despite being such an extraordinary painting, The Last Supper is still very much talked about and viewed in the present day.

Leonardo’s “Last Supper” has many theories behind it, such as the stories that the same model was utilized for painting Jesus and then years later used for Judas. Or that the apostle sitting to the left of Jesus is not really John, but rather a woman, Mary Magdalene (Edward, 1928). There are even some individuals who consider the dishes, food, and hands positioned on the table construct notes on a music staff, and that there is a song concealed in the painting. Also, the analysis of this painting by Dan Brown in The Da Vinci Code has generated a stir regarding the identity of Leonardo Da Vinci and in addition about his works as an artist (Kren and Daniel, 2008).

From 1513, Leonardo began living in Rome where he was acknowledged along with one of the renowned artists of the time- Michelangelo and Rafael. Even though his early work of brilliance was Madonna and Child, which led to his more famous work The Last Supper, Leonardo also drew up plans for court festival arenas for the Duke (Chubb, 1968). In addition, he was very engrossed in his own research drafts which are, as we are familiar with presently, in various disciplines of biology as well as science and engineering. These rough drafts contain drawings on how the heart would impel the blood to the muscles. He also created amazing drawings of how humans could fly. By examining birds, he created the glider, parachute, and a machine that would later on permit humans to fly- the helicopter. Nevertheless, this part of his intelligence wasn’t truly valued at his time since these inventions were too bold and impractical for his coevals (Edward, 1928).

On the whole, Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper is a remarkable work of art, and has been for generations.  Da Vinci sketched the first relaxed portraits with misty landscapes in the background. He utilized warm and passionate colors to produce the misty appearance on the landscapes. He had a unique way of painting with mixing colors and didn’t put eyebrows on his paintings. Although it The Last Supper has disintegrated to the point of being unrecognizable, many people have worked very hard to make sure that it will stay put for upcoming generations to see. Da Vinci was a very accomplished artist, and it is illustrated through his works like The Last Supper. Even to this day, his painting “The Last Supper” is known far and wide and visited by many tourists each year. The memory of the “Last Supper” could be due to the holiness of the parting meal.

Visual Image

Title of artwork- The Last Supper

Artist- Leonardo Da Vinci

Media-Tempera and mixed media on plaster

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