LEONARDO DA VINCI'S LAST SUPPER
The definitive polymath, he had almost
too many gifts, including superlative male beauty, a splendid singing voice,
magnificent physique, mathematical excellence, scientific
daring... the list is endless. This overabundance of talents caused him
to treat his artistry lightly, seldom finishing a picture, and sometimes making
rash technical experiments. The Last Supper, in the church of Santa Maria
delle Grazie in Milan, for example, has almost vanished, so inadequate were
his innovations in fresco preparation.
Da Vinci's Last Supper has become one of the most widely
appreciated masterpieces in the world. It began to acquire its unique reputation
immediately after it was finished in 1498 and its prestige has never diminished.
Despite the many changes in tastes, artistic styles, and rapid physical deterioration
of the painting itself, the painting's status as an extraordinary creation
has never been questioned nor doubted.
The painting has also been subject to much attention due to the number of
restorations it has had to face since its completion in the fifteenth century.
The most recent restoration lasted twenty years and has been the subject of
much controversy. The painting that remains so influential has been frequently
referred to as "repainted", not "restored". However, restoration
has been an ongoing reality with this masterpiece due to unprecedented manner
in which Leonardo painted it. Although restoration may have altered Leonardo's
painting to a degree, it has prolonged the life of this painting for future
generations to appreciate and view.