06 Oct Tales of Renaissance: The Last Supper by Da Vinci
It took Leonardo Da Vinci seven years to complete his famous work entitled ‘The Last Supper’. The figures representing the 12 apostles and Jesus were taken from real people. The person who would be the model for being Christ was the first to be selected. When it was learned that Da Vinci would paint this work, hundreds of young people appeared before Leonardo Da Vinci to be selected.
Da Vinci was looking for a face that showed an innocent personality, peaceful and at the same time beautiful. He sought a face free from the scars and hard features left by the uneasy life of sin. Finally, after a few months of searching he selected a 19-year-old boy as his model for painting the figure of Jesus.
For 6 months Leonardo worked to paint the main character of this magnanimous work. During the next 6 years, Da Vinci continued his work looking for the people who will represent 11 apostles; leaving for the end the one who would represent Judas, the apostle who betrayed Christ for 30 pieces of silver.
For weeks, Da Vinci was looking for a man with a hard, cold expression. A face marked by scars of greed, deception, betrayal, hypocrisy and crime. A face that would identify a person who would undoubtedly betray his best friend. After many failed attempts in the search of this model it came to the ears of Leonardo Vinci that there was a man with these characteristics in the dungeon of Rome.
This man was sentenced to death for leading a life of robbery and murder. Da Vinci traveled to Rome as soon as he knew this. This man was brought before the brilliant painter in the light of the sun. Leonardo Da Vinci saw before him a lifeless man, a man whose battered long hair fell on his face hiding two eyes full of rancor, hatred, and ruin. At last Leonardo had found who would shape Judas in his work.
By means of a permission of the king, this prisoner was transferred to Milan to the study of Leonardo Da Vinci. For several months this man sat silently in front of Da Vinci while the artist continued the arduous task of embodying in his work the character who had betrayed Jesus.
When Leonardo gave the last stroke to his work, he turned to the prisoner’s guards and ordered them to be taken away. As they left Da Vinci’s compound, the prisoner let go and ran to Leonardo Da Vinci, shouting: ‘Da Vinci !! Watch me !! Do not you recognize who I am? “Leonardo Da Vinci studied him carefully and replied:
‘I had never seen you in my life until that afternoon out of the dungeon of Rome.’ The prisoner lifted his eyes to the sky, fell to his knees on the floor and cried desperately: ‘Oh God! So low have I fallen! ‘Then he turned his face back to the artist and shouted:’ Leonardo Da Vinci !! Look at me again, then, I am that young man whose face you chose to represent Christ seven years ago! ‘
Can a man’s face be changed so much by the kind of life he has?
Marian Benedit (Argentina)