The Moore American

March 6, 2013

Bringing it a little closer to home

By Wanda Billbe
The Moore American

MOORE — As Easter approaches we think of Palm Sunday; The Last Supper; Good Friday and of course Resurrection Day.

When we think of The Last Supper, we visualize Leonardo da Vinci’s masterful painting and one has to ask the question, “What inspired Leonardo to paint this scene?”

Through wonderful resources and a just a keyboard click away, you can find the answer to just about any question.

Leonardo da Vinci painted The Last Supper because his employer asked him to do so. At that time Leonardo was employed by Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan and had been for almost 18 years, from 1482 to 1499. The Duke wanted this scene painted and gave the assignment to Leonardo.

It took Leonardo three years to complete the painting, which in itself is amazing since he was a known procrastinator and had a tendency to leave projects unfinished.

Most of us think it is an average sized painting similar to something hung above a sofa, but the Last Supper is very large: 15 x 29 feet and covers an entire wall.

So who is in the picture? Jesus, of course, and the 12 disciples. Bartholomew, James Minor and Andrew form the first group of three. Judas, Peter and John form the next group of three. Christ is the center. Thomas, James Minor and Philip are next. Matthew, Thaddeus and Simon are the last group of three.

If you’ve ever wondered why Jesus doesn’t have feet in the painting, it’s an interesting story. Leonardo painted the feet of Jesus on a wall, but around 1650, an unnamed person on a mission to insert another door into the refectory decided that the only logical spot for the door was right in the middle of the wall beneath the painting. It is a common joke that we are fortunate this person wasn’t engineering windows.

In Leonardo’s work of art, he depicts everyone with such human emotion you almost feel as though you are there in the room with them.

For those of us who are unable to travel back to The Holy Land this Easter, surfing the web and viewing The Last Supper will bring it a little closer to home.