Because in Milan you will get the precious and exciting opportunity to see one of the most well-known, and frequently quoted pieces of art in the world. This is the fresco of Leonardo da Vinci's Cenacolo Vinciano. There are not many influential works like this, and is rightly considered one of the most esteemed artistic achievements in the history of art. Not to mention the myriad of interpretations, debates, and discussions that revolve around it.
The painting, created in 1498 by the Renaissance man and one of the greatest artists of all time, describes Jesus’s last meal, the Passover Seder, together with the twelve apostles who surround him. At that meal he would announce to his emissaries that one of them was to turn him over to the Romans.
Many believe this is the most famous mural in the world. Indeed, the painting of the dining room wall in the small Dominican convent of the Church of Santa Maria della Gracia has over the years been transformed into countless different cultural gestures, from the Simpsons to the Sopranos, the family crime series.
The church itself is very beautiful and unique. It was a Renaissance building severely damaged by the bombing of the city in World War II, in 1943, and was renovated after the war.
The painting probably describes what was the last Passover Seder of Jesus, with Jesus himself and his disciples. At this feast he declared that one of the twelve apostles would betray him and that he himself would die. By the way, the "Last Supper" was a subject many drew about during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
But Leonardo's "Last Supper" was a revolution – for the first time, Jesus and the twelve apostles were painted without halos of holiness. Leonardo tried (and succeeded) to present Jesus and his men as human beings rather than celestial saints, as was customary at the time.
The picture was drawn on the wall of a convent room in the city. The painting depicting Jesus and his friends was crumbling. The reconstructions of the work, the opening of a door on the wall on which it was painted, the attempt to move to another place, and even the bombing in World War II - all severely damaged it. Even a modern attempt to recreate the painting on the wall only obscured and spoiled what was without a doubt a glorious creation. Only in the last few decades the reconstruction has been more successful and completed, which restored some of the painting's dignity.
The painting uses a special perspective that creates a sense of depth. The diagonal lines seen in the windows and the ceiling give the picture a perspective by becoming narrower, just as the eye sees the deep, three-dimensional reality. This was Leonardo's specialty and he manages to attract the gaze of the beholder to the figure of Christ in the center of the painting.
The apostles' figures are divided into triads, a hint of the Holy Trinity that is so important to the Christians. There are six apostles on each side of Jesus. Pay attention to the depth of the characters and the movement embodied in each one. Especially of the traitor, Judas Iscariot, is clearly visible. There is a literary description in which Leonardo the artist is described as one who sought "the most corrupt man in the world" to be a model for Judas in the painting. In the book, he finally finds a German merchant who suits exactly what he is looking for.
The viewing slot for the painting is only fifteen minutes.