Famous Art Facts – The Last Supper

Leonardo da Vinci started painting this famous piece of art around 1495 and completed it in 1498. The Last Supper was commissioned as part of a church renovation project. The painting shows Jesus sharing a last meal with his disciples on the night before his crucifixion, as told in the gospel of John. Da Vinci shows the anxiety and the reactions among the 12 disciples when Jesus declared that one of them would betray him. Da Vinci struggled to find the perfect villainous face for Judas the betrayer.

There are other depictions of the Last Supper by different artists from this period, all of which show the diners on one side of the table so that you cannot see anyone’s back. Da Vinci shows Judas leaning back into the shadow.

The Last Supper uses references to the number 3, which represents the Christian belief in the Holy Trinity. The disciples are seated in groups of 3, there are 3 windows behind Jesus, and the shape of Jesus’s body looks like a triangle.

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