Saturday, May 20, 2006

L'ultima Cena

Da Vinci's much-loved work "The Last Supper" is housed in Santa Maria delle Grazie. From its title, the Milanese concocted the word "Cenacolo" (chay-NAH-koh-loh) to name the building housing this incredible fresco.

No matter how trite you may think the image is, what with it hanging in millions of Catholic homes and the subject of countless parodies, the experience of actually standing before the fresco is captivating. I found myself unable to look away for even a second of the allotted fifteen minutes allowed each group of visitors. There is so much animation and expression that I never saw in prints of the image. And of course, what we were seeing was the fresco after an amazing restoration project that took over twenty years to complete, from 1978 to 1999. (And yes, the figure of John is so feminine, it's hard to buy the argument that it's the depiction of an 18-year old boy. At least, not any 18-year old boy I've seen on the WSU campus, ever!)

ADDED ON 5/21: The above picture is a stock photo of the fresco. Pictures are not allowed at the Cenacolo!!

Here are two good background articles on Il Cenacolo.

The first is from The other is from Wikipedia.

By the way, all over town there are posters advertising "The Da Vinci Code." From what I gather, there's a Leonardo exhibit taking place at the Castello Sforzesco. I'm guessing it was timed to coincide with the release of the film.

1 comment:

Marie Glynn said...

Love the name "cenacolo." Glad you were captivated by "L'ultima cena." I did not have the same experience with La Gioconda in the Louvre. So much hype, such a tiny painting.

The colors in your photo are astonishing. I haven't seen any reproductions since the restoration. Astounding!