The Last Supper by Da Vincci
Posted On March 14, 2017
Leonardo Da Vinci??™s depiction of The Last Supper is a realistic painting because it depicts Jesus and his apostles in a realistic setting. The figures in this painting are not seated at the table waiting patiently but it shows an intense conversation between the groups of individuals. The setting of this religious painting is the portrayal of the last supper that Jesus had with his twelve apostles. The Last Supper has been painted by many other artists but Da Vinci??™s is said to be the one that has truly captured the realism of people acting as people. Da Vinci??™s painting is at the biblical moment when Jesus has announced to his apostles that one among them will betray him. With great surprise given to the apostles at this moment one can see the testament of the apostles in the heat of an argumentative battle.
Da Vinci also uses implied lines in this painting to create the image of a triangle. With Jesus seated at the center of the painting we get the vision of a triangle. Based off of the position of his hands and angle that Jesus??™ head there is an indirect image of a pyramid. It also appears that Da Vinci used the method of emphasis by isolation in this painting. With Jesus seated in the middle of the table and the apostles leaning away from him it gives great emphasis on what the main focal point of this picture truly is. I believe that Da Vinci is using this method to show the holiness that Jesus has apart from the apostles seated beside him. In retrospect this shows that Jesus is the apex of the painting.
It is also seen that this painting uses one point lineal perspective. The three walls of the room seem to give a feeling of the depth of the area almost pointing to the main focal point which is Jesus.
One can notice that the apostles seated at the table appear to be grouped in threes. Many have argued the reasoning behind this but some say that Da Vinci cleverly did this to depict the three forms of the Lord. (The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit otherwise known as the Holy Trinity) Also, one can notice the three windows that lie just behind Jesus. This proves that this painting is an illusionistic painting mainly because these windows were placed to help relay the focus on Christ. Creating the image of light directly behind Jesus??™ head gave viewers the image and illusion of the holiness that Jesus possessed and possibly symbolizing that of a halo.
Da Vinci uses the technique of Chiaroscuro to create the three dimensional illusion to this painting. He performs a gradual shifting of light to dark tones on each figure of the painting. This gives the illusion that the figures and background appear to be rounded and more realistic in value. It creates a sense of reality and helps to add to the life-like imaging in this piece of work.
Many have argued that this painting is that of a fresco style but with the experimental techniques that Da Vinci used it argues otherwise. It was later discovered during a restoration attempt that the steps and techniques used by Da Vinci was a failed attempt to avoid the issues associated with the fresco style.
In a true fresco the artist paints on the damp plaster so that when dried the pigments bond with the lime of the plaster thus acting as a binder. Another technique is painting on dry plaster using glue as a binder. Artist had many problems with these methods ranging from having to paint art in sections because of the drying plaster to a non permanent works because of glues not bonding with lime properly. Also there were issues with the brilliant colors of pigments bonding with the lime.
Da Vinci tried a method of painting onto a dry plaster wall then sealing it with pitch, mastic and gesso. To him this method gave Da Vinci the advantage of being able to work with and modify his art as it dries and not having to paint in sections. It is believed that his final layer of sealant was tempura which is made up of egg yolks and whole eggs thinned with water. Over time, Da Vinci watched his masterpiece disintegrate from the flaking sealants so his experimental method had failed him.
This depiction of The Last Supper had great importance to the art world as well as the religious world because it shows the true reaction of the apostles when Jesus announces that one among them will betray him. Through Da Vinci??™s work one can see each apostle showing their own personal reactions when Jesus makes his announcement. Although the painting is badly damaged it can be seen on the faces as well as the gestures of each apostle both their concern and disgust for such an accusation. One can feel the emotions that the apostles have as they argue for their innocence and pledge their loyalty toward Jesus.