The Last Supper is one of the most famous works of Leonardo da Vinci. One of his finest arts to exist till today, along with Mona Lisa, it has been the centre of the attention for many scholars.
Recently, a high-resolution scan of the painting has revealed many new details.
London based Royal Academy of Arts has joined Google Arts and Culture Platform. People can view artworks and artefacts of the participating institutions from across the globe in high resolution.
When Google’s Art Camera Team scanned Giapietrino and Giovanni Boltraffio’s on-canvas copy of da Vinci’s The Last Supper, some fascinating new details came to light.
Before we discuss these new discoveries, let’s get an overview of the original painting by da Vinci.
Da Vinci’s The Last Supper
Da Vinci originally painted The Last Supper as a mural on walls of a Dominican monastery, Convent of Santa Maria Delle Grazie, Milan in 1498.
The painting depicts Jesus and his 12 disciples at a large table with Jesus at the centre having his last meal. Da Vinci had used a combination of egg tempera and oil paint on the plaster.
He might not have guessed that the paint would soon start fading away. Not to forget, the room where this mural exists went through a lot through centuries.
Eventually, part of the mural was eliminated when a doorway was built into the room. This eliminated part contains Jesus’s feet.
But before this happened, two of da Vinci’s students had decided to preserve the painting.
Preservation of the painting
These students of da Vinci were brothers Giapietrino and Giovanni Boltraffio who painted an on-canvas copy of the mural.
They followed every line and colour of the painting, but this time they did it in the traditional oil paint on canvas.
This copy, which now hangs in the Royal Academy of Arts in London was painted somewhere between 1515 and 1520.
Usually, it’s this copy that people study when wanting to study da Vinci’s art and his legacy. And yes, it’s this copy that Google’s Art Camera team has scanned in high resolution.
Now that we know of the background let’s see what exciting new things are there to know.
The new details
The high-resolution scan of the painting lets us see many things that we would have missed otherwise.
For example, we can see how Judas, who would eventually betray Jesus, spilt salt on the table. Spilling salt was a bad omen in da Vinci’s time.
Not just this, we also see how doubtful Thomas raised his finger, which shows his incredulity about the Resurrection.
We can also see the feet of Jesus in high detail, part of the mural no longer available in Milan. If you want to see the high-resolution images of the painting too, then click here.