AH3003, Leonardo Da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci, The Last Supper, 1498
• Subject matter -
The subject of the Last Supper is Christ’s final meal with his apostles before
Judas identifies Christ to the authorities who arrest him.
• Composition -
It is an un-naturalistic composition. The convention of seating all the figures on one side of the table opposite the viewer is not realistic but is convincing because of Leonardo’s skilful use of figure grouping, gesture, facial expression and glance.
The balanced composition is anchored by an equilateral triangle formed by Christ’s body. He sits below an arched pediment that looks as if it were to form a circle.
The twelve apostles are arranged as four groups of three and there are also three windows. Leonardo overlaps the 3 groups of four apostles over one another creating a lot of drama and chaos in this painting,also creating tensions and contrast between the emotional responses of all these figures.
• Perspective –
Christ is the main focus of The Last Supper painting, all of the perspective lines brings our eyes to focus directly towards him.
• Use of gesture and expression -
There is a lot of hand gestures seen by the figures such as
and Peter. Judas is placed on the left of Christ leaning away from him in shadow as he reaches to toward a piece of bread, and we can see that his right hand is clutching onto a purse containing his reward for identifying Christ to the authorities the following day. Peter, who sits beside Judas, holds a knife in his right hand, foreshadowing that Peter will sever the ear of a soldier as he attempts to protect Christ from arrest. The bodies of the apostles are all facing towards the Christ with different sets of reactions on their faces. Christ is reaching towards the glass of wine and bread, his eyes are looking down towards the table, one of his hands is up and the one one facing down. • Iconography -
The dominant position of Christ and the space around him emphasis the concept of Trinity as his figure is triangular, the apostles are grouped together in threes. The bread and wine are symbolic of Christ’s body and his sacrifice. The wine represents the blood of Christ, the bread represents the body of Christ.
• Influence of Alberti’s istoria. -
The Last Supper's primary purpose was that of Biblical storytelling.
It was what Alberti would have termed an istoria, that is to say, a controlled and significant exposition of a worthy subject.
He advocated the use of lots of graceful bodies in different positions for 'historia' paintings such as in The Last Supper. Painters should express emotion by the depiction of limbs in movement or through gestures and expression.
Conclusion: How does The Last Supper demonstrate Humanist developments in Italian art in the
There are humanism themes in