How Leonardo da Vinci painted us all into ‘The Last Supper’

Top 10 Facts about The Last Supper from Leonardo da Vinci - Discover Walks  Blog

There are two things that everyone should know about the paintings of Leonardo da Vinci. They help you to appreciate both his genius and his masterpieces.

First, Leonardo did not paint in lines. He did not add color to line sketches. The Florentine master had realized that there are no lines in nature. The human mind imposes them, as it notices sensory changes. Nature does not present a border line between the window and the window sill. That is how our mind organizes our perceptions, which is fortunate because otherwise all that we could see would be a rather meaningless mush, much like the vision of a newborn infant or a lower animal.

If you look closely at a painting by Leonardo, you will see that its colors overlap. One gradually gives way to another, so that they again form a line in our mind. But on the canvas itself there is an intermingling. We call this technique sfumatura, after the Italian for “smoky.”

“There are two things that everyone should know about the paintings of Leonardo da Vinci”.

The other essential characteristic of Leonardo’s art is that he did not believe that there were lines in time either. One moment constantly bleeds into another. It is only later, in memory and narrative, that we distill them into discrete sequences.

Now you are ready to appreciate, in a new way, a picture we have all seen. It is the most reproduced work of Leonardo’s Christian art, perhaps of all Christian art: “The Last Supper.”

Without a copy of the painting in front of you, you cannot appreciate the physical sfumatura of the colors, but narrative can preach the Gospel by relating its emotional sfumatura.

Leonardo was a genius in physically depicting psychological emotions, and he has chosen to paint the pivot in the narrative of the Last Supper, the moment that Jesus announces that his betrayer is with him at table.

“Leonardo chose to paint the moment that Jesus announces that his betrayer is with him at table”.

First, notice that Leonardo has imposed order on the group of 13 by gathering them into pairs of three, with Christ in the center. He is going to move us through time itself, if we begin on the far left where Bartholomew, James the Minor and Andrew are, as Leonardo biographer Walter Isaacson writes, “all still showing the immediate reaction of surprise at Jesus’ announcement. Bartholomew, alert and tough, is in the process of leaping to his feet, ‘about to rise, his head forward,’ as Leonardo wrote.”

In Leonardo da Vinci, Mr. Isaacson writes:

The second trio from the left is Judas, Peter, and John. Dark and ugly and hook-nosed, Judas clutches in his right hand the bag of silver he has been given for promising to betray Jesus, whose words he knows are directed at him. He rears back, knocking over a salt cellar (which is clearly visible in the early copies but not the current painting) in a gesture that becomes notorious. He leans away from Jesus and is painted in shadow. Even as his body recoils and twists, his left hand reaches for the incriminating bread that he and Jesus will share….

Peter is pugnacious and agitated, elbowing forward in indignation. “Who is it of whom he speaks?” he asks. He seems ready to take action. In his right hand is a long knife; he would, later that evening, slice off the ear of a servant of the high priest while trying to protect Jesus from the mob that came to arrest him.

By contrast, John is quiet, knowing that he is not suspect; he seems saddened by yet resigned to what he knows cannot be prevented. Traditionally, John is shown asleep or lying on Jesus’ breast. Leonardo shows him a few seconds later, after Jesus’ pronouncement, wilting sadly.

“The Last Supper” is a single image, but it reads or can be viewed as a moment-by-moment emotional narrative, one that even foreshadows moments yet to come. Finally, we come to the center.

Jesus, sitting alone in the center of The Last Supper, his mouth still slightly open, has finished making his pronouncement. The expressions of the other figures are intense, almost exaggerated, as if they are players in a pageant. But Jesus’ expression is serene and resigned. He looks calm, not agitated.

To the right of Jesus is Thomas, James the Greater and Philip. Thomas raises his right index finger. It is a favorite gesture of Leonardo’s, but this is also the disciple who will soon be commanded to place that same finger into the wounded side of the resurrected Jesus. Leonardo is pulling disparate moments of time together.

“Sfumatura. It is when colors run together. And it exists in each of us, who are part faithful, part faithless”.

The final trio on the right comprises Matthew, Thaddeus and Simon. They are already in a heated discussion about what Jesus may have meant. Look at the cupped right hand of Thaddeus. Leonardo was a master of gestures, but he also knew how to make them mysterious, so that the viewer could become engaged. Is he slapping his own hand as if to say, “I knew it?” Is he jerking his thumb toward Jesus or Judas? The viewer need not feel bad about being confused; in their own ways Matthew and Thaddeus are also confused about what has just occurred, and they are trying to sort it out and turning to Simon for answers. Returning to Jesus, Mr. Isaacson writes:

Jesus’ right hand is reaching out to a stemless glass one-third filled with red wine. In a dazzling detail, his little finger is seen through the glass itself. His left hand is palm up, gesturing to another piece of bread, which he gazes at with downcast eyes….

That gesture and glance created the second moment that shimmers in the narrative of the painting: that of the institution of the Eucharist. This part of the narrative reverberates outward from Jesus, encompassing both the reaction to his revelation that Judas will betray him and the institution of the holy sacrament.

Small wonder that Leonardo’s is the most famous painting of the Last Supper. All of us are in it! Because, have not all of us betrayed the Lord, even though we eat with him at table? And aren’t we all easily agitated at new moments on our journey, wondering what the Lord could possibly be accomplishing now? Aren’t we prone to take matters, even knives, into our own hands because we think that we know what must be done? Yet, like John, at times of deep intimacy with the Lord, aren’t we given the grace to accept all that must come?

And then there is the Lord. Focused, at peace, pointing to the sacrament. With eyes of faith, one can look through the outward species and see the true body and blood of Christ. His finger is visible through the glass.

Sfumatura. It is when colors run together. It is when moments collide. And it exists in each and every one of us, who are part faithful, part faithless. We live in a smoky world, but tonight, Christ, at its center, draws us to himself and gives his very self to us. He does this with great compassion and utter clarity.

ReadingsExodus 12:1-8, 11-14 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 John 13:1-15

Source: Americamagazine

Todo sobre el ‘Guernica’, sin el ‘Guernica’


Guernica, Abril 2015, proyecto colegial

Pablo Picasso pintó Guernica, hace 81 años, en una buhardilla del número 7 de la calle Grands-Augustins. Tardó 34 días en crearlo, desde el 1 de mayo al 4 de junio de 1937. La buhardilla aún existe, pero los propietarios del edificio, la Cámara de Ujieres de Justicia de Francia, quieren convertirlo en un hotel de lujo. El Comité Nacional para la Educación Artística se opone. La batalla legal es casi un contrapunto irónico a la gran exposición que el Museo Picasso de París dedica al Guernica, uno de los cuadros más célebres e influyentes en la historia de la pintura. La muestra, recién inaugurada, permanecerá abierta hasta el 29 de julio.

En París no puede contemplarse el cuadro más célebre de Picasso. El Guernica sigue en Madrid. El interés de la exposición está alrededor del cuadro: la evolución artística que llevó al pintor a componer la obra, los bocetos, las fuentes iconográficas (desde el románico catalán del medievo hasta los grabados de Goya),las fotografías de Dora Maar sobre los 34 días de proceso creativo, el contexto histórico del momento y la influencia del Guernica en el trabajo de otros pintores, todo ello compuesto gracias, en gran medida, a los préstamos del Museo Reina Sofía. El Museo Picasso de París propone esta muestra en la primera mitad del año y en el segundo semestre abrirá otra con una colección de obras maestras del pintor malagueño, algunas de ellas jamás vistas en Francia.

La historia del Guernica es bien conocida. Una comisión de la República visitó a Picasso en París a finales de 1936 o principios de 1937. El pintor había sido nombrado, de forma más bien simbólica, director del Museo del Prado, y el gobierno legítimo de España quería encargarle una obra de gran tamaño que permitiera defender su causa en la Exposición Internacional prevista precisamente en París ese año. Picasso aceptó. Pero tardó en dar con la idea. Los primeros bocetos resultaban más bien convencionales y se centraban en su modelo de la época, su compañera Marie-Thérèse Walter. En los más tardíos aparecía un puño cerrado como símbolo de resistencia.

La idea definitiva surgió después del bombardeo que aviones nazis y fascistas lanzaron sobre la pequeña población vasca de Guernica el 26 de abril de 1937. Fue el primer bombardeo masivo e indiscriminado en los anales de la aviación militar, un ensayo de la brutalidad de la inminente Segunda Guerra Mundial. Las imágenes de la atrocidad empezaron a publicarse en París el 28 de abril. El 1 de mayo, Picasso trazó un primer esbozo. Realizó 41 bocetos desde ese día hasta el 10 de mayo, cuando empezó a pintar la obra.

Diez años después, los críticos habían establecido sistemas complejísimos para la interpretación del Guernica. Picasso subrayó en distintas ocasiones que su intención era más simple: «El toro representa la brutalidad y el caballo es el pueblo (…), el toro no es el fascismo, sino la brutalidad y la oscuridad». En otra ocasión: «El toro es un toro y el caballo es un caballo. Hace falta que el público, los espectadores, vean en el caballo y el toro unos símbolos que pueden interpretar como prefieran, hay animales masacrados, para mí eso es todo, el público verá ahí lo que quiera ver».

La muestra de París reconstruye en lo posible el Pabellón Español de la Exposición Internacional inaugurada el 24 de mayo de 1937, un pabellón físicamente empequeñecido entonces por las colosales aportaciones de la Alemania nazi y la Unión Soviética. El pabellón, un edificio de líneas racionalistas construido por los arquitectos Luis Lacasa y Josep Lluís Sert, contenía, además del Guernica, el fresco de Joan Miró La revuelta del campesino catalán (desaparecido) y La fuente de Mercurio de Alexander Calder. En los meses siguientes, Picasso abundó en un tema ya presente en el Guernica con la serie Mujeres que lloran, concluida el 18 de diciembre con La suplicante, conmemoratorio del bombardeo sufrido por la ciudad de Lérida el 2 de noviembre, en el que fue atacada directamente una escuela.

El resto de la muestra se dedica a la peripecia del cuadro después de la Exposición de 1937. El Guernica viajó al Reino Unido y después a Estados Unidos, ya convertido en símbolo gráfico del pacifismo. Picasso lo entregó en préstamo al Museo de Arte Moderno de Nueva York en 1939. Treinta años después, en 1969, el régimen franquista intentó recuperarlo. Picasso se negó de forma rotunda y declaró al diario Le Monde que su obra más famosa sólo volvería a España «una vez restablecida la República». Picasso murió en 1973. Francisco Franco murió en 1975. En 1978 se aprobó la Constitución española. En 1981, el Guernica viajó a España, donde pudo ser visto por primera vez. En 1992 dejó el Casón del Buen Retiro del Museo del Prado para establecerse de forma definitiva en el Museo Reina Sofía.

Source: Elmundo

Photo: Ines Palumbo

Michelangelo e quell’autoritratto nascosto

La scoperta è stata fatta analizzando, nei dettagli, il ritratto fatto da Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) all’amica e poetessa Vittoria Colonna.

Nell’era dei selfie, un autoritratto ci riporta a un passato in cui le tecnologie erano diverse, ma l’ego non cambiava e la voglia di immortalarsi era uguale a quella di oggi. Con la differenza che, una volta, bisognava essere dei grandi pittori per ottenere il risultato che oggi otteniamo facendo un click sul nostro smartphone. E, a quanto pare, questa vanità colpiva anche il famoso Michelangelo.

La scoperta è stata fatta analizzando nei dettagli il ritratto fatto da Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564),  all’amica e poetessa Vittoria Colonna, marchesa di Pescara, eseguito nel 1525 e conservato al British Museum di Londra. Se si osserva con attenzione all’altezza del braccio e dell’addome della nobildonna e, sul lato sinistro del disegno, vedrete della gambette appena tratteggiate. Quella che appare, infatti, è la sagoma di un uomo piegato, di cui scorgiamo il profilo, che mette il naso dentro al disegno che sta realizzando.

Secondo un gruppo di ricercatori della Federal University of Health Sciences di Porto Alegre, che ha pubblicato un’analisi del dipinto sulla rivista Clinical Anatomy, quel profilo altro non è che un autoritratto caricaturale dello stesso Buonarroti. La piccola sagoma di Michelangelo appare simile all’autocaricatura che l’artista aveva tratteggiato nel 1509, a lato di un sonetto dedicato all’amico Giovanni da Pistoia: in quel primo schizzo, Michelangelo si era disegnato in posizione eretta, nell’atto di dipingere la Cappella Sistina, mentre nel ritratto di Vittoria Colonna si sarebbe disegnato col corpo piegato in avanti ad angolo acuto, come se fosse proprio quel Michelangelo in miniatura a dipingere l’intero ritratto.

Secondo Deivis de Campos l’autocaricatura potrebbe essere una firma nascosta dell’artista, e potrebbe fornire preziosi indizi riguardo la sua corporatura e lo stato di salute a quel tempo. Insomma, il più grande anatomista dei tempi ha lasciato informazioni anche sulla propria, di anatomia.


Editing: Ines Palumbo

Leonardo Da Vinci


Leonardo da Vinci Sculptures

Leonardo da Vinci was a highly talented sculptor although this medium is lesser known within his overall career due to a lack of output

Da Vinci’s work within this field would advance his paintings and drawings, as well as vice versa.

The other Renaissance masters of Raphael and Michelangelo would also specialise more in some mediums than others.

Leonardo devoted much of his time to preparatory sketches for two specific sculptural artworks, namely his bronze equestrian statue for Francesco Sforza and also a monument for Marshal Trivulzio.

Neither of these two projects would ever be completed, due to a number of different reasons. The deep level of planning that Da Vinci would go into for these planned pieces is underlined by how he would even design the vehicles that would carry the completed works to their final display positions.

We are left contemplating what might have been with his work in this genre, causing most focus to remain in the present day on his paintings and drawings.

There is also continued discussion of what legacy may have been left had these sculptures been completed, but most art historians agree that they would be unlikely to have achieved the same academic respect as Michelangelo’s Pieta and David, for example. Most feel this was not his strongest discipline.

With no completed sculptures to display, this section outlines the series of study sketches that he completed for the Sforza and Trivulzio monuments as well as describing how other, more recent artists, have taken inspiration from his career in order to produce their own sculptures.

Besides the monuments found here, Leonardo da Vinci would continue to use horses in much of his work. He found these animals enchanting and beautiful, perfectly suited to his style and qualities as an artist.

There is also a strong crossover between his work on the human anatomy and his studies of the horses found here.


Aside from his own contributions to this medium, many others have also taken on his work to create their own inspired pieces.

Sculpture inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s career

In the field of sculpture, Leonardo actually planned a number of sculptures before his demise. Sadly, he was unable to action many of them into final sculptures.

Some of those inspired by his own drawings and designs included Gran Cavallo (Horse in Bronze), Il Cavallo (the American Horse), Vitruvian Man Wall Sculpture and the Annunciation.

Though he didn’t do many monuments, a number of sculptures inspired by his paintings and life are available in the markets. They include Mona Lisa Bronze Sculpture, the Last Supper Sculpture, and Da Vinci Bust Sculpture.

Gran Cavallo

In 1842, Leonardo was requested by the Duke of Milan to make a horse sculpture. The artwork was to honour the Duke’s father, and it was to be placed in front of the castle. Da Vinci managed to sketch the biggest ever horse sculpture that was supposed to be coated with bronze later on. His sketch plan was appreciated by the Duke, and he couldn’t wait to see the real thing. During this time, France was a threat to Italy and bronze was used in building canons employed in protecting Milan. This halted the sculpture work as bronze was limited, and the artefact could not be completed. There was fear throughout Milan and Leonardo could not wait to concentrate and complete the work.

Considering that the French military was dominant over Milan, he fled the city and went back to his hometown of Florence for refuge and he never got back to Milan to complete the piece. It took many years before anyone considered to complete the work. Centuries later after his demise, the sketches made by Leonardo surfaced and presented an opportunity for someone to pick from where he had left. An American pilot became inspired by Leonardo’s work and founded a nonprofit firm named after Leonardo to complete the sculpture.

In 1999, the effort of this organisation paid off and the biggest horse sculpture was unveiled in Milan. It was 24 ft high and cast in bronze and it got everyone surprised and impressed at the same time. A month later, the second sculpture was uncovered in Michigan. These two marked the revival of Da Vinci’s famous Gran Cavallo sculpture. Today, there are many pieces in major galleries and online stores. It is available in different sizes and from different countries.

Il Cavallo Sculpture

In 1506, Da Vinci made a sketch of horse sculpture, similar to the one he did in 1842 for the Duke of Milan. The horse sculpture named Il Cavallo was dedicated to Giacomo Trivalzo. However, the artwork never got much attention at the time. In making this monument, Leonardo faced two major challenges. One, he needed to work on the belly space of the horse. Space on the belly was supposed to be filled. Secondly, Leonardo wanted to occupy the rider’s space. The rider was to be designed separately and placed on the horse.

Following his demise, a number of sculptors have taken the challenge to deliver a complete sculpture based on Leonardo’s sketch and design. There are a few variations in design but the original details are maintained. Today, a number of sculptures are available in the memory of Leonardo. The statute is normally procured to present an artistic appeal to homes and social halls. The display of the masterpiece promotes creativity and inspiration in a place. The image is of great beauty and amazement to the procurer.

For those who are Da Vinci fans and to those who just appreciate art, the sculpture is highly rated by them and they consider it as one of the greatest sculptural work. With many designs available in the market from different nationalities, more enhanced sculptures of the design are expected each day. The art industry is growing and sculptors are getting inspired especially by pioneers such as Da Vinci. For this reason, the Il Cavallo is an expression of better things to come.

Vitruvian Man Wall Sculpture

This sculpture is of historic importance. The wall sculpture is cast in high-quality resin and stone finishing. Initially, the Vitruvian Man was sketched by Leonardo as a painting and sculpture. Due to the fame that the sculpture sketch and painting gained over years, more statutes have been made of it. The pieces are available in different designs and sizes. The finishing also varies based on the preference of the artist. The available options include wood carving, bronze, and stone.

The display of the wall sculpture is significantly historical. The design is a representation of the great art mastery by the Italian Leonardo. Today, many art enthusiasts rate this sculpture as one of the best historic statutes inspired by him. It is a representation of style and essence in the art field. The display of this historic piece gives the room an appeal of beauty and class.

The existence of different designs and sizes make it convenient to be placed in any room. It can be put in museums and homes to display class and enhance beautiful room presence. The painting is appealing to all class of art enthusiasts. The Vitruvian continues to amaze and astound many art fans. The hype to deliver more enhanced wall sculpture is high and the market can only expect more of the Leonardo inspired Vitruvian Wall statute.

The Annunciation Sculpture

This piece of work has a similar appearance to the original painting but it’s slightly different in the finishing. It’s made of high-quality resin with a glossy finishing. Accompanying the package is a colour card that is written in 4 different languages. The artwork just looks amazing considering the historic and biblical significance behind the idea. It is a display of the biblical story about the birth Christ. The message was announced by Angel Gabriel to Mary about her becoming the mother of Christ.

Biblically, the annunciation of the birth of Christ is symbolic. It signifies the possibility of human salvation. Christians celebrate the birth of Christ during Christmas each year and so such sculpture adds relevance to the occasion. The messenger who in this case is angel Gabriel is clearly sculptured to appeal the message of hope to the believers. The annunciation was met by disbelief initially from Mary and this is clearly expressed in the statute. For Christians around the globe, the sculpture is very important as it highlights descriptively the contents of the Bible.

The sculpture is also historically significant as it outlines a piece that was carefully designed and crafted. The appeal gives an understanding to the art fan of the actual historical event. The artefact is a wonderful piece to put in a home or social setting. It is also displayed in museums and churches as a constant reminder of hope of humanity. For those who find it hard to read the Bible, they get to look at the sculpture as a constant reminder of hope. The Da Vinci Annunciation sculpture is of great essence to the current art world and the future ones.

Da Vinci Bust Statue

This sculpture is specifically designed in reference to Da Vinci’s mastery of the art of painting. He was referred to as the Renaissance Man. The sculpture has a bronze finishing and the artwork measures about 9 inches high. It has a Bulgarian origin. The piece is an upper body image of Leonardo Da Vinci. It is designed to honour Da Vinci. Historically, the Italian art legend has been instrumental in the art industry. His famous paintings are a motivation to many artists.

Having a statute image of him is an illustration of the achievement that this great artist managed. The statute is well designed and crafted to appeal the message intended. With Da Vinci’s name engraved at the bottom of the statute, the piece is worth a purchase. The bust statute is available in different carvings such as bronze, wood, and stone. The nature of material design dictates the market price and the cost may vary from store to store depending on the nature of material, design, and size of the piece. The powerful stand makes it suitable for any platform ranging from homes to art galleries.

The Last Supper Sculpture

This sculpture is a motivation from Da Vinci’s famous painting, The Last Supper. The piece is an artistic expression of the events recorded in the Bible that involves Jesus and his disciples taking the last meal. This was before Christ’s eventual death sentencing. During the last supper, Jesus happens to reveal to his disciples that one of them will betray him. The sculpture gives a detailed artistic feel of the actual event. The artistic appeal is more illustrative of the actual biblical event.

The piece is most convenient for churches and homes. Even those who are not Christians get to procure it because of its historic and biblical essence. The piece not only displays creativity by the artist but also inspiration considering the reference of the work. Da Vinci’s level of creativity is evident in this particular piece and one would just agape at the wonderful sculpture. The painting can be procured for many reasons but what is peculiar is the level of creativity in the piece. Most of the pieces are from Germany. The sculpture is found in bronze, wood, and clay carvings.

Mona Lisa Bronze Sculpture

This is also inspired by Da Vinci’s famous painting Mona Lisa. Most of the pieces are from the US. The painting was done around 1503 and 1519, and it acts as an artistic reference to sculptures today. The statute gives a detailed feel of the original painting. It displays a partial body of a woman (Mona Lisa). There is so much artistic touch interpreted on the statute. Her smile is an expression of Da Vinci’s cosmic idea of linking humanity and nature. The bronze sculpture is mounted on a firm solid base and it measures 12 inches in length.

According to researchers, the woman on the sculpture is believed to be Lisa Gherardini. Many art enthusiasts rate this sculpture highly and the reason is that of its historic importance. The appeal of the statute is also illustrative of the message intended by the Da Vinci. The statute gives an alternative artistic feel to the painting. A dominant artistic presence develops when the sculpture is around. The ambiance surrounding the figure is very inspirational from the artist’s point of view.