I know you missed class last week, but I would love to explain one of the important pieces of art we went over, The Last Supper, painted from 1495 to 1498. That day, we went over the history that led up to period of Modern Art. As Leonardo da Vinci painted this huge piece of art, 15 by 29 feet, he had purpose and meaning into every detail, which I will explain to you. The subject around Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper is based on the last meal Christ had with his twelve disciples before one of them betrays Jesus.
Judas is the one that betrays Christ that leads to His death on the cross and Resurrection. This meal is also known as the Passover meal where Jesus broke the bread and drank the wine as remembrance of his body and blood that He sacrificed for all mankind. In the Bible (Matthew 26), Jesus says that the one who will betray Him is, “He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. ” In the painting it displays Judas’ left hand and Jesus’ right hand reaching for the food.
The Last Supper clearly displays classicism within its details. The biggest thing that Leonardo da Vinci displays in this art piece is Neo-Platonism. This idea or truth has God in the center of all things. It can be displayed as a triangle, which stands for the Trinity, and gives a sense of stability. In The Last Supper, we can see that Leonardo has Jesus in the center of everything, which you will see in the later descriptions. First sign of neoclassicism is the triangles that make up Jesus and next Him.
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The head of Christ makes the top of the triangle his hands make the bottom two corners. This is so important, since the triangle is upright. When a triangle is upright, it gives the meaning of stability. Therefore, where Christ is the center, there is stability. However, there is an upside down triangle next to Jesus. This is the sign of instability. I believe this is on that side of Jesus, because Judas is also on that side. We can tell that Judas is on this side, because one, both him and Jesus are both reaching for the food, and that is described in the Bible.
Also in the Bible (Matthew 26:15) it says that Judas was given thirty pieces of silver to betray the Christ, and in Judas’ right hand it looks like he is holding a sack of coins. Lastly, Leonardo da Vinci painted Judas’ face different than all the others. His face is kind of blurred and is shaped oddly, which is unlike all the others. There are a lot of evidences of classicism in this painting. In this picture, Jesus is the focal point. One sign of classicism is in the lines and symmetry. All of the lines in the ceiling and walls all lead to the head of Jesus.
The three windows in the background are symbolizing the Trinity, and the biggest one is framing Christ. This also makes Jesus stand out even more. Also everyone is either pointing to Jesus or are looking at Him. The bread and meal plates are all evenly spaced, which is the sign of classicism. Another sign of classicism in this painting, the colors are very complimentary. Jesus is especially bright in His red and blue. Leonardo did this on purpose, because he wanted to make Jesus stand out the most. This is why he chose red, the color that stands out the most in paintings.
The last sign of classicism is the balance. On each side of Jesus, there are two sets of three disciples. The three disciples is a sign of the Trinity and the four groups is also a symbol of Plato’s four virtues. In conclusion, The Last Supper is a huge symbol of classicism and Neo-Platonism. Leonardo da Vinci had many meanings behind each and every detail, from the placement of the bread, to lines on the ceiling. I hope this helps you out a lot. There is a lot of information in just this little paper.
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