The Cenacolo Vinciano [The Last Supper] Da Vinci’s masterpiece, is in Milan

There are probably just a handful of artworks in any given city that would warrant flying in only to see them. Among these are unquestionably the works of Leonardo da Vinci. Seeing the Last Supper (Cenacolo Vinciano Il), painted by the Tuscany-born artist on the wall of the refectory next to the Basilica of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, is reason enough to visit the city.

In the late fifteenth century, Leonardo da Vinci painted one of the most ambitious, famous, and interesting works in the history of art: The Last Supper. There is good reason to celebrate its survival through so many misfortunes, including bombings. This, however, is only the beginning. Recently, this masterpiece of a mural has gained a lot of attention because of Dan Brown’s best-selling novel, The Da Vinci Code. Here we’ll explore the extraordinary backstory of Leonardo da Vinci’s masterwork Il Cenacolo Vinciano, including the artist’s inspiration, and any mysteries surrounding the work. 

The Last Supper is also accessible via Vox City’s self-guided audio tour. In this tour, you will get to see Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, one of the world’s most famous paintings. One of the most well-known paintings in the Western world has been on exhibit at the Santa Maria delle Grazie since the 15th century, and it attracts a steady stream of curious visitors every year. As time has passed, The Last Supper has become one of Milan’s most cherished treasures.

The history of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper

In 1483, Leonardo da Vinci travelled to Milan to serve as an envoy for the Florentine gentleman Lorenzo de Medici at the court of Ludovico Sforza. Although the Duke normally kept the title Apeles florentino [The Florentine Apelles] for renowned painters, he extended it to Da Vinci in recognition of his engineering skills. Some speculate that Da Vinci found the lively environment in Milan inspiring, after becoming increasingly alienated by the growing Neoplatonic and obtuse intellectual setting in Florence.

While working in Milan, the artist completed three of his most famous works: the Last Supper mural in Santa Maria delle Grazie’s refectory, two renditions of the Virgin of the Rocks, and a series of portraits of the Medici family. The creation of The Last Supper took Leonardo at least four years. In 1494, Ludovico il Moro commissioned him to decorate the refectory of the Dominican convent; he finished the job in 1498. Based on the massive amount of plans and notes he prepared, it’s clear that the artist approached the job as a creative challenge. Leonardo’s love of science prompted him to try out new methods and materials when painting frescoes, although he didn’t always make the best decisions. His choice of materials hastened the mural’s degeneration, which had already begun during his lifetime.

Despite ongoing efforts to preserve the mural beginning in the eighteenth century, the state of the artwork continued to deteriorate even after these efforts were completed. It was during the Napoleonic Wars of the early nineteenth century that the refectory holding The Last Supper was turned into a stable by French troops. The worst destruction, however, occurred during the Second World War of the twentieth century. The church was obliterated by Allied bombings, but the wall bearing the Da Vinci fresco ‘miraculously’ survived. Since then, many people have worked hard to preserve this creative marvel through a series of restoration projects.

Importance of Leonardo’s Cenacolo Vincianoa

But what makes this fresco so significant that it should be preserved for future generations? To be more accurate, the Last Supper is more of an iconographic motif found in countless Christian churches across the globe. Even more so, the Catholic Church teaches that during the Last Supper, Christ instituted the Eucharist as a sacrament.

Da Vinci demonstrates excellent awareness of his fresco’s setting, the refectory or dining room of the convent, making the painting a trompe l’oeil that powerfully reflected contemporary style, in addition to his choice of the precise moment for the topic of his work. Leonardo’s use of perspective in The Last Supper makes it appear as though the apostles are actually seated at a table in the refectory. In addition, he does it with an exceptionally eurhythmic awareness of the configuration of the environment, showcasing the talents he honed as a distinguished student of both the Renaissance thinker Leon Battista Alberti and the builder of Santa Maria delle Grazie.

The center of the picture, Christ’s head, serves as the perspective’s vanishing point. Da Vinci’s invention of sfumato was used to create an artificial landscape behind Christ’s head, blocking the viewer’s line of sight through the central window.

How to see?

Seeing The Last Supper can be difficult because of its dilapidated condition. As a conservation measure, just 30 visitors are allowed in every 15 minutes to help preserve the masterpiece. Although this is obviously not enough time to fully appreciate a piece of art, it is still significantly longer than the typical museum visit.

Reservations are required at least three weeks ahead of time. If you don’t want to miss your chance to see this masterpiece, it’s crucial that you not only arrive at the museum at least half an hour before your scheduled tour time. 

Vox City self-guided audio tour

The Last Supper is also accessible via Vox City’s self-guided audio tour. Enjoy unrestricted freedom of exploration at your own pace at The Last Supper with this app-based self-guided audio tour. There’s no need to schedule a time to meet with a representative; you can get started with our App right immediately, no matter where you happen to be. This is not the same as the audio tour provided at the venue. This audio tour is available only while The Last Supper is accessible to the public. Separate entrance tickets must be purchased. The self-guided audio tour comes with a tonne of perks, including limitless use throughout your whole stay and access to all of the self-guided features.

Additionally, you’ll get access to multilingual audio commentary in English, Spanish, French, German, and Italian.

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