Monday, January 16, 2012

The Last Supper - Painting by Leonardo da Vinci

The Last Supper Painting by Leonardo da Vinci

Between 1496 and 1498 Leonardo painted his _chef d'oeuvre_, the "Last Supper," for the end wall of the Refectory of the Dominican Convent of S. Maria delle Grazie at Milan. It was originally executed in tempera on a badly prepared stucco ground and began to deteriorate a very few years after its completion. As early as 1556 it was half ruined. In 1652 the monks cut away a part of the fresco including the feet of the Christ to make a doorway. In 1726 one Michelangelo Belotti, an obscure Milanese painter, received £300 for the worthless labour he bestowed on restoring it. He seems to have employed some astringent restorative which revived the colours temporarily, and then left them in deeper eclipse than before. In 1770 the fresco was again restored by Mazza. In 1796 Napoleon's cavalry, contrary to his express orders, turned the refectory into a stable, and pelted the heads of the figures with dirt. Subsequently the refectory was used to store hay, and at one time or another it has been flooded. In 1820 the fresco was again restored, and in 1854 this restoration was effaced. In October 1908 Professor Cavenaghi completed the delicate task of again restoring it, and has, in the opinion of experts, now preserved it from further injury. In addition, the devices of Ludovico and his Duchess and a considerable amount of floral decoration by Leonardo himself have been brought to light.




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