The Last Supper is a painting by Leonardo da Vinci that depicts the last meal shared by Jesus and his disciples before the former’s crucifixion. It was commissioned for Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy, which was to be the new church of the Order of the Servites. The painting portrays 12 people sitting around a table.
Da Vinci used several young men as models for Christ and his Apostles and some of them were actually present during the painting process. Da Vinci paid careful attention to detail as he painted original works of art such as “The Last Supper”. He created very distinct facial expressions for each of his subjects and even added small elements like fingernails, wrinkles around the eyes, or hair style. Here are five facts that you probably never noticed in Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” until now.
1.) The man with a knife at the top right corner of the painting is da Vinci himself. This figure is believed to be a self-portrait, but many experts believe that it could also have been his assistant or apprentice Bernardino Luini who posed for this figure.
2.) The man at far left side of Christ grimacing in pain is da Vinci’s student Salai. Sal
Once you know what to look for, you’ll see that Da Vinci covered the entire canvas with symbolism. Here, we’ve highlighted five things you probably never noticed.
1. The Hanged Man
The Hanged Man is represented by a man hanging upside down with his head pointed down and his arms outstretched as if to say ‘peace be still’. The Hanged Man is number 12 in the Tarot deck and is based on the Apostle Peter who was martyred upside-down in Rome. Da Vinci also has him looking out of the window which may be a reference to Peter looking out of the Holy Sepulchre for 3 days before his resurrection.
2. Three Fishes
At first glance, it looks like there are randomly painted red fish all over the surface of this painting, but if you count them you’ll find that there are precisely 72 in total. This may be a reference to ‘the catch of fish’ that Jesus miraculously provided for his disciples after they had been fishing all night without success (John 21:11). It may also be a reference to the Eucharist where Catholics believe that bread and wine become the physical body and blood of Christ (John 6
Several years ago, after a couple of visits to the Louvre in Paris, I put together a list of visual elements that kept drawing my attention back to Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper.
The next time you’re in front of this masterpiece, set aside a few minutes to take a closer look at these 15 details and let me know if you can spot them all: 1. Jesus’ fingers. 2. The position of Jesus’ lips. 3. John’s index finger. 4. John’s right arm and hand. 5. Judas’ fingers. 6. Peter’s ear, nose and eye. 7. Mary Magdalene’s earring 8. Jesus’ face and hair 9. The apostles’ feet 10. The apostles’ hands 11. The apostles’ faces 12. James the Greater 13 . Judas 14 . Paul 15 . Peter
We tend to take these paintings for granted, but they are masterpieces that have developed over centuries. Look closely next time you see The Last Supper, and you’ll discover the genius of Da Vinci.
Description: The painting is actually a good bit bigger than most people think. It’s actually quite small, which is surprising because it has so many details in it. So while it may appear to be a small painting from afar, up close it is larger than life.
Description: It wasn’t until 250 years later that we saw the first copy of The Last Supper (the one at Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan). Michelangelo’s original fresco was painted on wet plaster, so when the church wanted to restore the painting after a few decades, they had to scrape off all of the paint and start over. This made for a very interesting discovery: there was an entire second layer of paint beneath the first layer!
Description: It took him years to come up with exactly what he wanted. In fact, even his sketches changed throughout his life. He sketched out many different versions of this painting before deciding on the perfect one.
Description: Many people assume that this is what dinner would have looked like at that time period.
This is probably the best video I’ve seen on the aspects of art that are often overlooked: the negative space, or background. There’s so much detail in this one painting that it can be very easy to get lost in all the colors and shapes if you’re not careful.
Later artists were clearly influenced by Da Vinci’s style and his use of light, shadow, and negative space.
Bonus: if you’re a fan of pop culture, you’ll recognize a lot of other paintings here that were clearly influenced by The Last Supper. Some of them are:
The Good Shepherd – Pablo Picasso Starry Night – Vincent Van Gogh American Gothic – Grant Wood (containing a hidden owl) Girl with a Pearl Earring – Johannes Vermeer The Scream – Edvard Munch Les Demoiselles d’Avignon – Pablo Picasso The Great Wave off Kanagawa – Katsushika Hokusai
The Last Supper was painted in Milan, Italy, in 1495. The painting is one of the most famous pieces of art in the world. It is also one of the most copied and parodied pieces of art in the world. In fact, it has been so widely used that it has become difficult to view it without those associations. Here are some details you might not have noticed before:
1. Jesus and his disciples were eating flatbreads.
2. Leonardo’s original painting only had nine apostles at the table because Judas had not yet betrayed Jesus. It is believed that he was originally going to include him, but left him out because he recognized that Judas would be easily recognizable by the public and would spoil the painting.
3. He included himself as one of the disciples at the table with Jesus, making a total number of eleven.
4. The man seated on Jesus’ immediate right is known as “The Notorious Disciple” since his identity remains a mystery to this day. Some people speculate that he is Lazarus or Paul of Tarsus.
5. The man seated on Jesus’ left, known as “the apostle Peter striking up conversation”, is often overlooked because viewers tend to
1. The wall is cracked.
The bottom of the wall, on the left side of the painting, is badly cracked. Scholars say that this probably happened when the painting was restored in 1737.
2. Jesus’ feet aren’t touching the ground.
It looks like his feet are resting on the base of the table, but they’re actually hovering above it, which makes more sense given that he’s supposed to be floating in space.3. They’re all wearing sandals and socks.
4. The apostles are all sitting in different positions from each other, but they’re all leaning in towards Jesus as if listening intently to his words.5 . This is not a black background but a very deep shade of greenish blue called ultramarine, made from crushed lapis lazuli. It was worth more than its weight in gold and was used as a pigment for centuries because it was so expensive and rare.”