The Last Supper is one of the greatest paintings ever created and one of the most famous. This masterpiece, painted by the great Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci, depicts Jesus's last supper with his twelve apostles at the moment he announced that one of them will betray him. On this page is a list of interesting facts about this amazing Italian work of art. This information includes where it is located, what condition it is in, and why it is considered one of the greatest works of art ever produced. This information is written for both kids and adults.
The Last Supper Quick Facts
This famous mural is located within a dining room in the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy.
Leonardo da Vinci began work on this mural sometime around 1495 and completed it in 1498; he did not work on it continuously in those 3 years.
The Last Supper measures 180 by 350 inches (460 by 880 centimeters).
The Last Supper was commissioned by the Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza. The painting was commissioned as part of renovations of the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie.
Jesus's last supper with his apostles is described in the Gospel of John in the Christian bible's New Testament.
The Last Supper Interesting Facts
Jesus and his twelve apostles are all sitting on one side of the table so that the viewer can see all of their faces.
The number 3 is an important number regarding this painting. Leonardo da Vinci used three to represent the Holy Trinity, which is the Christian belief that God is 3 things; the father, son, and the Holy Spirit. The Apostles are seated in groups of three, there are 3 windows behind Jesus, and Jesus is in the shape of a triangle (3 sides).
It has been suggested that Da Vinci included a self-portrait by making Saint James the Lesser, the second apostle from the left, to look like himself.
Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper ranks among the greatest paintings ever created not only due to the realism of the figures but also because the artist captured the emotional reactions of the apostles, upon Jesus's announcement that one of them would betray him, in such a realistic manner.
The Last Supper Condition and Restoration Facts
Da Vinci painted this masterpiece on a thin exterior wall which resulted in the paint not adhering to the wall correctly and leaving it more susceptible to humidity.
By 1556, less than 60 years after its completion, it was noted that the painting was in ruin and the figures unrecognizable.
In 1652 a doorway was put in which cut into the painting right underneath Jesus and destroying a significant portion of the painting, including Jesus's feet. The doorway has since been bricked up.
In the mid-1700s a curtain was hung over the Last Supper with the intention of protecting it; instead it trapped moisture leading to further damage. The curtain also scratched the painting when it was opened and closed.
In the late 1700s French revolutionary soldiers damaged the painting by throwing stones at it.
During World War 2 the building housing the painting was bombed; although protected by sandbags vibrations from the bombing caused damage to the painting.
The Last Supper has undergone several restoration projects including one that took 21 years; ending in May of 1999.