There are times where I’ll research a topic and then get not to use it. The story still interesting, but doesn’t fit another day. This happened last friday. Friday the 13th.
The story involved friday the 13th and Da Vinci’s Last Supper. I share it with you today.
Friday the 13th is considered an unlucky day in Western superstition.
The Last Supper took place on Holy Thursday. Later that night, Jesus would be arrested. The next day tortured and crucified.
The Last Supper and friday the 13th have a relationship. Though not a friday, the Last Supper had 13 persons seated at the table. The twelve apostles and Jesus.
The 13 at the the Last Supper gave the Last Supper the bad luck label. There are several other happenings before and after that are considered the source of friday the 13th. However, the Last Supper is the one most historians consider the correct choice.
I have visited Milan several times. On two of those occasions, I visited the Last Supper.
Da Vinci’s work is housed at the refectory of the Convent of the Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan.
Da Vinci began the painting around 1495-1496. It took 3 years to complete. The major reason for the length of time was Da Vinci had difficulty deciding how to paint Judas’ face. He spent considerable time walking the streets of the more tawdry sections of Milan seeking the face.
The Last Supper is painted consistent with John 13:2.
The work itself is large: 16.5′ x 26.6′.
It covers the end wall of the dining room.
The medium was not solely oil. Though Da Vini’s preference was to paint with oil, the work may be properly referred to as a fresco with variations.
No canvas. The Last Supper was painted on a large wall.
The wall was sealed with a double layer of gesso, pitch, and mastic. To which Da Vinci added an undercut of white lead to enhance the brightness of the oil and tempos that were applied on top. Secco painted on dry plaster for final touches.
To the non professional eye of one such as I, it appeared to be a painting on concrete.
To the painting itself.
John the Apostle sat next to Jesus. Facing the work, John would be seated to Jesus’ left. He had a pink shawl thrown over his shoulder closest to Jesus.
Note that a docent lead the tour each time. Appeared to be well versed in all aspects of the Last Supper.
He asked that we look closely at the pink shawl. He directed us to what was a woman’s face. Da Vinci had painted a woman’s face and shoulder beneath the shawl which on a close look left no question it was there.
The docent advised it was thought to be the face and upper portion of Mary Magdalene. He further advised it would not have been strange for her to be at the Last Supper.
She had made her peace with Jesus and was now a devoted follower. She was at the Last Supper as a server, etc. She followed Jesus around the table as he washed the feet of the disciples. She dried their feet.
Then he told us something I had never heard before. He said Mary had become of the wife of Jesus.
Some time after, I decided to research the representation. Nowhere could I find even the slightest hint that such was a fact.
As to the painting itself, I was overwhelmed the first time my eyes rested on it! The size contributed to the feeling. The work itself magnificent!
Enjoy your day!