The Last Supper

The Last Supper - Leonardo da Vinci

The Last Supper is where Jesus sat down with his disciples to celebrate the Jewish Passover. Jesus was to be the sacrificial lamb.

The most famous depiction (infamous if people knew the truth) is the wall painting of The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci.

The Last Supper (in Italian, Il Cenacolo or L'Ultima Cena) is a mural painting by Leonardo da Vinci for his patron Duke Lodovico Sforza. It represents the scene of The Last Supper from the final days of Jesus as depicted in the Bible. The painting is based on John 13:21, in which Jesus announced that one of his 12 disciples would betray him. The painting is one of the most well known and valued in the world, however, unlike many other valuable paintings, it has never been privately owned because it cannot be moved.

The painting is located in the refectory of the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan in Italy.

The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci has a number of interesting features.

The person sitting next to Jesus on his right (our left as we view the painting) is Mary Magdalene. Jesus and Mary are dressed diametrically opposite, in a Yin Yang pattern.

Peter, sitting next to Mary, is slicing across her throat with his hand.

Further along the table, a disembodied hand is about to thrust a knife into the stomach of one of the disciples.

On the other side of Jesus, a disciple is thrusting his finger into the face of Jesus, in what has become recognised in the paintings of Leonardo as 'the John sign' representing John the Baptist.

Further along the table, Leonardo can be seen as one of the disciples with his back to Jesus.

Rather like Alfred Hitchcock who placed himself in his own pictures, Leonardo placed himself in his own paintings.

If the Holy Family was in the painting, Leonardo would have his back to them.

Leonardo is thought to have been one of the followers of John the Baptist, or had access to information known to followers of John the Baptist.

Leonardo was allegedly a Grand Master of the Priory of Sion.

On the table is a noticeable absence of broken bread. Also missing is a chalice before Jesus.

On one of the columns is painted a chalice!

The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci is an important element of the plot in The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.

Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince in The Templar Revelation, were one of the first to draw attention to the symbolism in the paintings of Leonardo da Vinci. This symbolism can also be found in The Virgin of the Rocks, which also features in the plot of The Da Vinci Code. The symbolism is discussed in the first chapter 'The Secret Code of Leonardo da Vinci', from which Dan Brown may have got the title for his best-selling novel.

The symbolism of Leonardo is also found in the mural that Jean Cocteau painted in Notre-Dame de France in Leicester Place (off Leicester Square, Soho, London). Like Leonardo, Jean Cocteau is another alleged Grand Master of the Priory of Sion. Again discussed by Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince in The Templar Revelation.

Religion and Symbolism
(c) Keith Parkins 2006 -- May 2006 rev 0