The Last Supper – Santa Maria delle Grazie

culture, Lombardy, Points of Interest, UNESCO world heritage

Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper (Cenacolo Vinciano) is one of the most famous paintings in the world. The work was painted between 1494 and 1498 and represents the Last Supper, that is the final meal that Jesus shared with his apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. In the scene Leonardo da Vinci represented the moment in which Jesus has just announced his betrayal.

This painting is undoubtedly one of the most important works of art of all time. In the context of the history of art and Catholicism, The Last Supper by Leonardo is a true icon. It is in fact the most famous representation of the Last Supper. It is also one of the best known works of the Italian Renaissance.

Leonardo’s painting is located inside the Museo del Cenacolo Vinciano, in Piazza Santa Maria delle Grazie n. 2, in Milan. In particular, the painting is on the wall of the dining room of the ancient Dominican convent annexed to the church, exactly in the former refectory of the convent and is one of the most interesting attractions in the city of Milan. The refectory was the place where the monks ate their meals in religious silence and the work was created not with a mere decorative purpose, but to stimulate meditation and spiritual recollection in those who observed the painting. The painted scene is also enriched by the presence of objects of common use in the refectory such as tablecloths and dishes, and food similar to those consumed by the Dominican friars. The Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980.

Leonardo’s grandiose work has always been one of the most visited in Italy. When you enter the former refectory of the convent adjacent to the sanctuary of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, you are amazed at its grandeur, also because the room is deliberately bare and simple: the focus is on the painting.

The painting, 4.60 meters high and 8.80 meters wide, was made with tempera and oil on a plaster preparation instead of the fresco technique commonly used at the time. Leonardo, abandoning the traditional method of fresco painting, in fact depicted the “dry” scene on the refectory wall. To make the representation more engaging, Leonardo concentrated on the expressions and gestures of the apostles. Through small and detailed brushstrokes it was possible to represent many details.

The technical factors and the humid environment contributed to the deterioration of the painting, which has undergone numerous restorations over time. The colors that can be seen today in the Last Supper are no longer the original ones. Over the centuries, following the detachment of the surface, the various interventions have added and even changed the physiognomies. The most recent restoration is from 1999, in which various scientific methods were employed to restore the original colors and, where possible, to remove traces of paint applied in previous attempts to restore the painting. To ensure that the painting is stored at room temperature, visitor access has been restricted to a group of up to 25 people every 15 minutes and only a few days a week.

For this reason, reservations are required to visit the Last Supper. It is possible to buy an entrance ticket, valid for a specific time and date, through an authorized call center, or through the Vivaticket website (www.cenacolovinciano.vivaticket.it) or finally through the Musement website (https: / /www.musement.com/it/milano/biglietti-salta-fila-e-visita-guidata-per-il-cenacolo-vinciano-497/).

The availability of tickets is limited and it is not always possible to find available seats due to the numerous requests.

 

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