As commissioned by Ludovico il Moro in 1495, the piece required three years of work and was to denote the religiously polyvalent scene of Christ's last supper with his disciples.3 Da-Vinci set demarcates for religious symbology in renaissance art. Choosing himself to paint the very moment in which Christ announces that among the disciples is the one who will betray him, Leonardo connoted messages never before used in art, creating for him, a shibboleth demographic of artistic religious ambivalence in the opinion of many, which is unmatched today. Or is this that moment, as he does not look as if he has completed his sentence? The apostles are as follows: Bartholomew,James, and Andrew;Judas,Peter, and John;Thomas,James, and Philip; and Matthew,Jude, and Simon.4 Those figures closest to him appear to be recoiling in dismay at what they have heard, or are about to hear, whereas those further at the ends of the table seem as if the words have not yet reached them.
Furthermore it becomes evident that it is not a single idiosyncratic moment, but a conveyance of a sequence of moments flowing together and forming a confluent unit, as this is applicable to other paintings of his, where human bodies and objects at certain points in space and time confound to one capricious impetus, gasconading humanity and emotion. The aspect of time is clear, as Da-Vinci has incorporated his sfumato; blending the horizon of time and movement, bringing the viewer a more realistic, prolific and life like, scene.5 He may be giving the observer a glance at his own emotional inertia towards the scene, expressed through the twelve sentinel bodies.
It is evident that Christ is at the focal point of the image as his arms are spread, encompassing him into a triangular shape, expressive of the Divine Trinity. Due to the asymmetrical symmetry you can see through the copious division of bodies in groups of three and presumably the figure of Judas Iscariot to the right of Christ. These groups are displaying their personal reactions through facial expressions and movement that culminates together into one unit which suggests the spread of Christ’s words, framed by the door, from the centre to the edges of the piece, rather than standard depictions of disciples following the standard simulacrum of static presence. Da-Vinci incorporates use of perspective lines by maintaining symmetry between the apostle clusters while the geometric shapes that take form in the painting harbour the creation of the painting's dialogue.6 Da-Vinci breaks this with a baroque culmination of varied presence, confidence, movement and positioning, through a pluralistic medium of capricious geometric scenery.
Often theories of Mary Magdalene sitting to the left of Christ in the painting are expressed, perhaps inspired by the famous Da-Vinci Code book, though rationally there is a contradiction to repudiate it as she was not a disciple, just a close friend of Christ’s.7 Although then again, Judas may not have been present, thus making twelve an accurate number, while explaining the feminine looks of the figure present.
Judas in most other versions adorns the opposing side of the table. In Leonardo's, he sits on the same side…