April 9, 2009

The Last Supper

Among the masterpieces representing the Passion of Jesus, the Last Supper frescoed by Leonardo da Vinci in the refectory of the Dominican convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, in Milan, is perhaps the most famous in the world. Many people know it, but few know a) the precise moment of the last supper that it represents, b) how to interpret the meaning of Jesus’ actions, and those of the apostles, and c) that this fresco can be understood only in conjunction with another painting that occupies the front wall of the same refectory, representing the crucifixion.

To remove the blindfold, on March 30, 2009, Timothy Verdon, an American art historian and priest, published this essay in L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper. He explains from an artistic, theological, and liturgical perspective the profound meaning of the Last Supper.

“It is an artistically sublime way to understand the first act of Jesus’ passion,” says Sandro Magister, who had the wonderful idea of re-publishing the article in his own website.