SMITHSONIAN ASSOCIATES | “Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper” by Rocky Ruggiero, Ph.D.
Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper is one of the world’s most famous works of art. Painted in 1495 on a wall of the refectory of a Dominican convent in Milan, Italy, the Last Supper is celebrated as the first work of the high Renaissance. But few people realize that Leonardo’s painting of the subject was the culmination of nearly 1000 years of iconographic tradition, and that his depiction of Jesus and 12 (soon to be 11) of his closest followers sharing their last meal together was one of dozens of Last Supper paintings to adorn refectory–or dining hall–walls in Italy.
Rocky Ruggiero, a specialist in the Early Renaissance, explores the evolution of the subject of the Last Supper in Italian art, from early Christian images to examples from the late Renaissance.
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