The Last Supper Of Leonardo Da Vinci

Category: Last Supper
Last Updated: 27 Feb 2023
Essay type: Appreciation
Pages: 4 Views: 91

Leonardo da Vinci created a unique work of art during the late 1400s in Milan, Italy. The Last Supper was initially noted for it uniqueness as it was created using an innovative technique. However, the appreciation for this painting was challenged for this reason to almost not stand the test of time. Fortunately, the physical work of art, through many attempts to restore it, never seemed to lose meaning to its endless and timeless audience.

As a result, I believe the appeal of the Last Supper rests with its normalcy. Even with age and various cultural, religious and symbolic perspectives, the Last Supper continues to reign as a work of art that will always be appreciated. This paper will discuss how intended representations, symbolism and today’s implications define the unique importance of Da Vinci’s Last Supper to art appreciation

When many people think of notable works of art, regardless of extent of their knowledge, Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper is typically a work of art mentioned. Although it was painted several centuries ago, it’s uniqueness seems to have no end to its appeal to those that seek to understand the appreciation of art.

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I believe the appeal has to do with picturing something that every person has to do daily in order to live, which is eating. Yet, the innovativeness of da Vinci adds a spin to the normalcy of eating by painting what is believed to be the Last Supper of Jesus and his Disciples before he is betrayed, crucified and murdered. Da Vinci also includes many other intended representations, symbolism and implications which still show relevance today

The Last Supper is located in Milan, Italy in the Dominican monastery of Santa Maria dell Graze. It was commissioned by the Duke of Milan Ludovico Sforza. It is estimated to be painted by Leonardo da Vinci between 1495 and 1498 when he was in his early 40’s, during the Renaissance Period. The painting is approximately 15 feet X 29 feet.

Da Vinci created his own technique for this mural which was using a tempura paint on a plastered wall which was preconditioned first and then painted. Unfortunately, this new technique caused the paint not to adhere and then caused the need many future attempts to restore it. Another distinct technique used for this mural is da Vinci’s use of actual people as models for his depictions of the Disciples

Da Vinci’s Last Supper has important religious implications because it is renowned and widely accepted as a physical snapshot of when Jesus shared his last supper with his disciples before he was ultimately betrayed by Judas and crucified on the cross. Jesus is centrally placed and framed by the window behind him. As the central figure, Jesus is leading what became a basic sacrament to Christianity.

It is believed the intent was to give Jesus a crown. Most portraits of Jesus show him wearing a crown of thorns which signifies the crown given to him by those who crucified him. There also are symbolic references to the number three which is an important reference to the Holy Trinity in the Christian faith.

The various gestures of the Disciples are shown to show each of them as they heard the news of Jesus’s upcoming fate. Three significant times, Judas is shown as the betrayer. Judas, the one who ultimately betrays Jesus is pictured clutching a coin bag that is believed to signify his payment for his betrayal. Judas is also pictured reaching toward a bowl of water which also points to his betrayal as 'The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me' (Matthew 26:23).

Unfortunately, this depiction along with the spilling of salt which is believed to represent treachery is difficult to see because of da Vinci’s choice to use tempura paint on the dry wall technique instead of fresco which was the typical choice of this time for this type of mural. As a result, Judas’ reaching for the bowl of water and spilling of salt is not readily recognizable due to age, neglect for many years, and bad attempts at renovations.

The Disciples are shown participating in a last supper with Jesus as he tells them of his future betrayal and ultimate death. The symbolism found in da Vinci’s Last Supper painting inspired many future works to include The Da Vinci Code (2003) by Dan Brown which highlight what is believed to be many underlining meanings and codes hidden in his works of art which perhaps reveal what may occur in the future.

This painting also continues to have future implications that challenge artist to continue to be innovative even while using natural media like stone. Lastly, da Vinci’s Last Supper painting captured what normal, expressions by using actual everyday people to model for his depiction of the Disciples.

He was able to capture how an average person may appear when reacting to what most Christian’s believe to be one of the most emotionally devastating times in history. These are ways in which his painting continues to reach every day people throughout various time periods.

Most of the time, the importance of studying art appreciation include understanding the demographics of a piece of work, cultural, historical and political significances. While these are arguably categories of significance, these categories do not define that which is notable about Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper painting.

This uniqueness of the Last Supper seems to rest with its symbolic representations that can appeal to the every day person born centuries ago or even today. Da Vinci was able to capture emotions using a naturalistic approach that includes dining and a scenery in the background. He did not intend to alter or lessen the seriousness of Jesus sharing his betrayal and death with his Disciples. Through his use of every day people as models for his work, da Vinci was able to demonstrate the essential values behind appreciating art.

Reference List:

  1. Brown, Dan. The Da Vinci Code: A Novel. New York: Doubleday, 2003. Print.
  2. Jegen, Mary Evelyn. “Leonardo Da Vinci Paints The Last Supper.” Salem Press Encyclopedia,
  3. 2020. EBSCOhost,
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  5. Neville, Lee. “The Last Supper.” U.S. News & World Report, vol. 122, no. 12, Mar. 1997, p. 13.
  6. EBSCOhost,
  7. direct=true&db=a9h&AN=9703264019&site=eds-live.

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The Last Supper Of Leonardo Da Vinci. (2023, Feb 27). Retrieved from

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