10 of the most Famous Paintings You Should Know: No 2 The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci.

The Last Supper

The last Supper
Leonardo da Vinci 1495-1498 Milan

And the next painting we have another Leonardo da Vinci. As previously mentioned this guy is a genius and well worth celebrating.

Leonardo da Vincihttp://t2.gstatic.com/licensed-image?q=tbn:ANd9GcTCS0e-ZTVqbESl8pRMUXb2Eda0FdJxPBOhpMLE_QFm0jcoHJbSLnnEqgqyShZg

Now, why on Earth is The Last Supper so famous?

There are two major reasons and both of them happen in two different time periods. The first time period is when da Vinci actually created this piece. This piece signified a big failure in this genius’s career, and it’s caused a lot of loss and drama.

This is because da Vinci developed this new method of doing a fresco, where he changed the way they mix pigments and how they apply frescoes. Way back then the traditional method was to actually skim the wall with wet cement and then paint into the wet cement, little pieces at a time so that the pigment and the cement joins together to create a lasting mural.

Which new methods did da Vinci develop?

Da Vinci with his genius mind developed new methods and he applied it in this monastery in Milan for this particular painting.

Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan

It is said to have taken four and a half years to be completed, and I have a lot of interesting stories about that but that would be another blog post.

So what happened is, he did this method and after he finished that job, he left to go and do another one. His curious mind was always jumping around, he was always doing various things and he went off to go work on other projects and experiments in science stuff and in anatomy.

Why was he called back to the monastery?

However, he was called back by the church saying that the entire wall was flaking off, the paint was coming off.

He was ridiculed, the monks were calling it the da Vinci snow as some of the flakes rained down on them where they were eating because this last supper meal is in the dining room of the monastery and they used to say there were flakes in their food and it became quite a mockery.

Why did the painting flake?

Now I’ve heard lots of theories about why this painting failed. Now I’ve heard lots of theories about why this painting failed:

One story that I’ve heard is that the Monastery was actually built on a Marsh on very unsettled ground that had a lot of damp and fog, and that this was being drawn into the walls causing everything to flake.

It wasn’t actually da Vinci’s theories and colour methods that failed, it was the location of the construction. This has been a topic in the art world for quite a while and lots of restoration has gone into The Last Supper’s.

What happened after this enormous failure?

So it does mark a big change in da Vinci’s career, the failure of The Last Supper caused him to not be in such high demand. People in Florence and the Catholic church didn’t really want to employ him so he went off to work for the Duke of Milan which was like Enemy of Florence.

Florence didn’t want him after that and then he had no pension fund hence he had to leave for France. As stated previously he went to work and live with the French king.

What was the next frame in his life?

The next time frame that was really important for The Last Supper was World War II. It is incredible to think that this monastery was bombed down, and the only wall really left standing was the one with The Last Supper on it.

The Last supper miraculously survived: https://wp.en.aleteia.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2019/06/web3-the-last-supper-world-war-ii-polo-museale-della-lombardia.jpg?quality=100&strip=all

This was seen as a miracle and quite a moment in WWII that righteousness, God, and good will triumph above evil. Everybody called it a miracle and that it was a sign that the allies would in fact win the Second World War because this painting survived.

And it really is a miracle if you just look at the destruction and how the site looked during that time. It is incredible that this masterpiece survived. It was only restored much later, the army packed sandbags to preserve this beautiful art piece and it was standing exposed to the elements and now the Monastery has been rebuilt.

The final chapter of this saga.

This painting is famous because it was a massive turning point for da Vinci’s career, it ‘sunk’ a genius and made way for the new younger artists – the new kids on the block such as Michelangelo.

It was also seen as a symbol, a gesture, of fate, a sign from God that World War II will end and good will prosper. So it captures both those very important points in history.

Please make sure you read the about the other famous paintings. No 1 is the Mona Lisa and the next one will be on Vincent van Gogh’s Starry night.