"" Writer's Wanderings: DaVinci's Last Supper

Saturday, January 22, 2005

DaVinci's Last Supper

This past June, I had the opportunity of seeing DaVinci's fresco, The Last Supper, in Milan. I purposely did not read Brown's DaVinci Code before going to Europe so that I might view the work with fresh eyes.

We arrived at our appointed time. (See my website www.karenrobbins.com/milan for more information). A few minutes and two special entrance chambers later, we were ushered into a dimly lit room that was a huge dining hall at one time. Against the back of the wall was the famous work. It has been touched up so many times it is difficult to say what is still the original. The basic work is still there however.

The astounding thing was how the perspective in the picture led your eye to Jesus who was in the center. After seeing so many churches and cathedrals with the emphasis on the saints they were named for, I found it refreshing to see a picture that centered on Jesus. The muted colors of the fresco were beautiful. I stood there just drinking in the history and the artistic talent that had created it.

The question arises, now that I have read the book by Brown, what/who is the artist creating his work for when he is crafting his piece? Paintings were usually commissioned and the artist made his money by painting for his patron. Is it the patron? Is it the beholder (I still believe the beauty is in the eye of the beholder)? Are we to interpret the work as we, the viewer, see it?

If that last question is the case, I did not see anything but a beautiful work of art featuring Jesus and his disciples at their last meeting before his crucifixion. There were no hidden V's. I did not notice any knives pointed the wrong direction, etc. What is found there is found by those who are trying to look beyond a piece of artwork.

Mr. Brown has done a wonderful job of putting together historical facts, suppositions, and theories and weaving them into a piece of fiction. Soon to follow, the movie moguls will weave that fiction into a screenplay and put it on the big screen. The interest will rise again. The discussions will ensue. And, hopefully, Mr. Brown will profit from the movie rights.

I can't help but wonder if DaVinci were able to know the hulabaloo his work has caused, if he wouldn't just chuckle and say, "It was only a painting, people." That's my theory.

[Check out the information at The DaVinci Code: The Biblical Response]

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

wasn't it m's not v's that were in the last supper?

ed said...

You have to admit that it's very interesting that the apostle sitting to Jesus' right is absolutely a woman.

mam said...

And who authenticated that fact for you?

Anonymous said...

I think that maybe you should look at the painting again. There is clearly one of the men hiding a knife he's holding while holding his other hand up to Mary's throat in a "slitting her throat" manner. Also Jesus is not holding a cup or is there a cup anywhere on the table, as well as the obvious symbol of a V between him and Mary. Really take another look. I am a very strong Christian who's always had questions in my spirit about Mary. I'm now happy someone has brought to our attention that maybe we all need to start looking deeper into our faith that we are willing to go to war for. Make sure we're at least on the right path. What's wrong with a bit of research on the bible which was man written. We're told not belive the book Davinci's code, but we'll seal our souls with the bible.... Who wrote that?? Jesus?? No.

Karen said...

I'm posting again today (DaVinci Da Choice) in answer to some of the comments here. This post was not to open a debate. I'm not here to debate. I simply wanted to note that there is a beautiful piece of artwork in Milan. That I saw it with no pre-conceived notions about codes, symbols, hidden meanings, etc. I looked at perspective, at color, at design composition. I'm an art education major--those things were what I sought to enjoy.

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