Leonardo da Vinci ‘Last Supper’

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Leonardo Da Vinci

Born out of wedlock in Vinci, Italy, Leonardo’s illegitimate standing kept him from receiving a good education and excluded him from the most lucrative occupations. However, such limitations never hindered and perhaps even fuelled da Vinci’s desire for knowledge and great ambition.

At the age of 15, da Vinci became the apprentice of the painter Andrea Del Verrocchio in Florence. While always interested in inventions, it was a change of scenery in 1482 that truly unleashed the inventor in da Vinci. Looking for a broader scope of work, da Vinci moved from Florence, widely considered the cultural capital of Italy, to Milan, a much more political and militaristic city. There da Vinci began developing many of his famous war inventions. Da Vinci spent 17 years in Milan, painting, sculpting, studying science and conceiving an endless stream of innovative and daring ideas. Without a doubt, the 17 years spent in Milan were da Vinci’s most productive period.

In 1499, the French invaded Milan and Leonardo spent the remaining years of his life traveling to cities like Venice and Rome to work on different projects, with a greater concentration on his art (starting on his most famous piece, the Mona Lisa, in 1503) and studies in anatomy (da Vinci conducted over 30 autopsies in his lifetime). After envisioning hundreds of inventions, bringing to life legendary works of art and making breakthroughs in a vast array of other fields, da Vinci died in 1519 at the age of 67.

 

The Last Supper

The Last Supper measures 460 cm × 880 cm and covers an end wall of the dining hall at the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy. The Last Supper portrays the reaction given by each apostle in particular when Jesus says one of them would betray him. All twelve apostles have different reactions to the news, though anger and shock are most prevalent. In common with other depictions of the Last Supper from this period, Leonardo seats the diners on one side of the table, so that none of them has his back to the viewer. Most previous depictions excluded Judas by placing him alone on the opposite side of the table from the other eleven disciples and Jesus or placing halos around all the disciples except Judas. Da Vinci also simultaneously depicts Christ blessing the bread and saying to the apostles “Take, eat; this is my body” and blessing the wine and saying “Drink from it all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for the forgiveness of sins”. The angles and lighting draw attention to Jesus, whose head is located at the vanishing point for all perspective lines. The balanced composition is anchored by an equilateral triangle formed by Christ’s body. He sits below an arching pediment that if completed, traces a circle. These ideal geometric forms refer to the renaissance interest in Neo-Platonism. The Ancient Greek philosopher Plato emphasized the imperfection of the earthly realm. Geometry, used by the Greeks to express heavenly perfection, has been used by Leonardo to celebrate Christ as the embodiment of heaven on earth.

For this work, Leonardo sought a greater detail and luminosity than could be achieved with traditional fresco. He painted The Last Supper on a dry wall rather than on wet plaster, so it is not a true fresco. Because a fresco cannot be modified as the artist works, Leonardo instead chose to seal the stone wall with a double layer of dried plaster. Then, borrowing from panel painting, he added an undercoat of white lead to enhance the brightness of the oil and tempera that was applied on top.

 

Recipes:

  • Golden Morsels
  • (15th Century – Italian, Platina book 8) Toast white bread crumbs, soak them in rosewater with beaten eggs and ground sugar. Take them out, fry them in a pan with butter or liquamen (chicken or pork fat), spread out so they do not touch each other. When fried, put in dishes and sprinkle with sugar, rosewater, and saffron.
  • 3 slices white bread
    1/4 t rosewater
    2 eggs
    1 T sugar
    about 4 T butter or lard
    1/8 t more rosewater
    4 threads saffron
    2 T more sugar
  • Beat eggs. Beat in sugar and rosewater. Tear bread into bite-sized pieces, mix into egg mixture and let soak. Mix remaining sugar, rosewater, and saffron in small container and set aside. Melt lard in frying pan; when hot enough (test with small piece of bread stuff) put chunks of bread stuff into lard and fry until just browned on both sides. Drain briefly on paper towels, put into dish and sprinkle with sugar mixture.

 

  • Pork in Wine Sauce
  • Original recipe:
  • Cormary:Roast Loin of Pork with Red Wine
  • Take finely ground coriander and caraway, pepper powder, and ground garlic, in red wine; mix all this together and salt it. Take raw pork loins, skin them, and prick it well with a knife, and lay it in the sauce. Roast it when you wish, and save what falls from the meat as it roasts, and boil it in a pot with good broth, and then serve it with the roast.
  • Redaction:
  • Take a 5 pound roast and make slits in the skin and insert 10 cloves of garlic.
  • Combine:
  • 2 t ground coriander
  • ½ t caraway seeds(be careful with the caraway as it tends to overpower easily)
  • ½ t celery seed
  • ½ t ground pepper
  • 2 t salt
  • Rub this mixture on the surface of the roast. Place the roast in a Reynolds™ Roasting bag with 1 cup of red wine. Cook in 350º oven for 2-3 hours, or until roast reaches 185º. Remove roast from bag and dump juices into a saucepot. Slice up the roast and put back in the bag and keep it warm. Add enough stock to the wine and juices to make 2 cups and enough breadcrumbs to make the sauce thick (2 T). Check the sauce and season to taste. Place the slices of pork on top of cooked grains (a pottage, rice, barley, risotto) and serve with the sauce on the side.

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