Christians often use Leonardo da Vinci timeless depiction of “The Last Supper” during their celebrations around Easter.
The iconic representation is highly regarded for its various detailed components, but many are largely unknown about its incredibly important personal history.
Per Business Insider:
Easter is the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, and one of the most famous images from that story is Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” It’s an iconic Renaissance masterpiece that’s been praised, studied, and copied for over 500 years.
Against all odds, the painting still lingers on the wall of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan.
The painting is highly regarded for its innumerable use of detail:
Each figure is unique and memorable, down to the smallest details.
“Never before had an artist created such drama in a painting, with such lifelike figures and minute detail,” he said. “Regarding detail, the right hand of Christ is a tour de force. Two joints of the little finger and the ball of his third fingers are seen through the transparency of a wine glass. It’s an absolutely dazzling display of skill.”
Besides the exactness of the drawn detail, the painting’s ability to survive is also revered:
So, why is this 15th century mural still so celebrated today?
“One reason it’s so famous is because its survival is something of a miracle,” King said. “It’s the art world’s most famous endangered species. A century ago it was almost given up for lost. After its most recent restoration — something of a miracle in itself — we can appreciate its beauty. Because it is still, despite the losses, an amazingly beautiful painting.”
There were quite a few instances in which the masterpiece may have been destroyed:
Wehn King Louis invaded Milan in 1499, he was tempted to cut the mural from the wall and take it home with him.
Then, due to humidity and flaking, the painting was considered totally ruined by the middle of the 16th century.
In 1796, the French came back — and this time, they represented the revolutionary French republic. The invading troops used the refectory as a base and the mural as a place to take out their anti-clerical feelings, hurling rocks at the painting and gouging out the Apostles’ eyes.
The largest scare to the mural happened almost 500 years after it was created:
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.
Perhaps the most dramatic incident occurred on August 15, 1943, when Allied forces bombed the refectory. As Atlas Obscura reported, a protective structure had been set up beforehand. While the rest of the church was largely reduced to debris, “The Last Supper” was saved.