Museum Report: The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci
The museum I attended is Santa Maria Delle Grazie, which is English for Holy Mary of
Grace, and this is where the collection of da Vincis The Last Supper is currently located. This
collection is one of Vincis most interesting works and is considered by many to be a renaissance
masterpiece. The collection is Christian/Biblical art, as it portrays Jesus just before his
crucifixion. While The Last Supper is a painting that is important to many, particularly
Christians, the piece of art has been deteriorating with time, probably because the museums
dates way back in history and has been damaged due to issue like the second world war, humid
conditions, and even floods. The museums organization of collection is thus not really appealing
because it can lead to erosion of value in masterpieces such as this one. My overall impression is
that the museum is that its exhibitions and presentations are slowly losing value due to the poor
environment in which the museum is located.
This painting was done between 1495 and 1498 by a Vinci. It is one of the most popular
Christian art, and it is a masterpiece of high renaissance that is based in Milan, Italy. The
painting depicts the exact moment when Jesus announced to his disciples that one of them would
betray him. The picture shows each of the disciples reacted to the news, and while at first, it
seems straightforward, the painting is actually very complex. The painting is approximately 4.6m
by 8.8m or 15ft by 29ft.
Some of the elements of this work are:
I. Texture: Various textures are portrayed by this painting, but generally, it has a
coarse, mosaic-like feeling. The texture has been complemented with its colors,
which have been portrayed in a sad and gloomy way. Because the painting has
undergone damage due to factors such as the World War and humid conditions, the
texture is not exactly the way da Vinci intended it to be. The texture in the painting
also plays a role in decorating Jesus and the disciples clothes, as well as in the
tablecloth and walls portrayed in the painting. Some parts of the white tablecloth
stand out from the rest of the painting as they come across as one with a smooth
texture, unlike most of the painting, which has a rough texture.
II. Color: At the center of the painting, a visual effect of a sad color paddle can be
perceived. Colors have been deliberately portrayed in sad ways with multiple
shadows that try to depict the kind of mood that both Jesus and the disciples were in
at the time. The most dominant sad colors in the painting are gray, white, and blue.
The shades of color used to portray Jesus stand out from the rest, with his being a
little darker, and from this, one can almost feel the divinity of Jesus. Various colors
have complemented each other in the painting, and this gives the viewer a good
intensity of the work. Some of the garments worn by disciples are yellow to pale red,
and this lightens up the painting, thus bringing in the light element.
III.Shape: The painting has used to shapes to portray the feeling of space, particularly
the rectangles and squares that have been used as both parts of the building and the
characters portrayed in the painting. The shape has also been used to portray
significance, with Jesus having a triangular shape that is captured by his head and
widespread arms, indicating he is the central figure in the painting.
Some of the principles of design portrayed in the painting are:
I.Balance: Upon looking at the painting, we get a sense of balance. All the characters
have their focus on Christ, who is in the middle of the painting. The way Jesus is at the
center, just in front of the gar wall with window openings, and the way his disciples
have also been placed approximately in front of the sidewalls, also creates a sense of
balance. The three window openings behind Jesus also bring a sense of balance, with
the one at the center being slightly larger than those at the sides. The colors of the walls
also create a sense of balance, with the white and brown ones corresponding to the
disciples and the gray one corresponding to Jesus. The piece of raised stone just in front
of the middle part of the tablecloth also creates a sense of balance.
II.Emphasis: The artist outs emphasis on Jesus, the man at the center with his garments
having darker shades of colors and even the triangular shape that he takes, which takes
up more space than the rest, implying more emphasis is on Jesus (DeWitte et al., 45).
The artist has also put more emphasis on Jesus by drawing the attention of almost all
the characters towards him.
III. Contrast: The color of garments being worn by the disciples, and Jesus seems to
vary from one person to the next. Even those that have similar garments are varying in
tone. The walls and the tablecloth in the painting also vary significantly, with the
former having darker colors while the latter has lighter colors.
Discussion of Medium
The medium used in this painting is oil and tempera on mastic, pitch, and gesso. The
materials used seemed to have been a mixed proportion of water, and probably egg yolks. The
medium chosen by da Vinci has darkened with time and even lost color, and the more they age,
the worse they will get. The painting is two-dimensional since it cannot be seen from all sides
(DeWitte et al., 178). Hatching and cross-hatching have been used on Jesus character to put
emphasis on him by creating a stronger dark value. The painting has a flat look with a mostly
rough texture. The medium used by the artist was not durable, and this can be seen in the image
itself and the fact that several versions of the image are available. The artist mainly used
imagination and probably the Bible to create this art.
Da Vinci wanted to come up with a painting that would well represent Christ and his
disciples, during the last supper, a moment that was very trying for Christ. The way he captures
the reactions of the disciples, particularly Judas, is fascinating. Aspects such as balance, color,
shape, and even space have worked together to portray Christ as the central character in the
painting. The choice of materials and even medium was poor, as the painting seems to have
significantly deteriorated over the years as compared to the artists other workers like Mona Lisa.
This has even prompted several other artists to try and recreate this painting (hence the reasons
for two attachments below), and unfortunately, this has made the work lose its meaning as
compared to the past. The character that is on the immediate right of Jesus is a bit confusing. The
character appears female because of the longer hair and even significantly smaller shape as
compared to other characters. This then raises the question, on which disciple was absent in Da
Vincis work, and if this is the case, what was his intention on excluding this disciple from the
Da Vincis illustration of the disciples reactions and even the way he portrays Jesus is
exceptional. While this piece of art has been subjected to things that have almost completely
destroyed it like the World war, there is no doubt that it still remains a masterpiece today.
Proof of Attendance
DeWitte, Debra, Ralph M. Larmann, and M. Kathryn Shields. Gateways to Art. Thames &
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