Tuesday, July 24, 2018

In his ‘Last Supper,’ Leonardo da Vinci puts linear perspective, then a relatively new pictorial device, to spiritual ends.

By Robert E. Gordon
‘Last Supper’ (1495-98), by Leonardo da Vinci
Traditional analysis of the “Last Supper,” which was completed in 1498, has emphasized its subject matter, composition and style. But a deeper look brings out the true genius of the work: the relationship between art and architecture, the way science can bring man closer to God, and an outline of the quintessence of the divine. The first thing one notices is that the imagery of the Last Supper is aligned with the room’s architecture. The artist captures the anxiety and tension of the announcement by squeezing all 13 men into an uncomfortably small space. The other way derives from the second light source at the rear of the image. The sun in Leonardo’s conception is crucial to communicating the most important aspect of the entire fresco: Jesus’ impending death as a consequence of the betrayal he announces. [More]