Leonardo da Vinci has painted the Last Supper in the refectory of the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie at the behest of Ludovico il Moro, in a span of time ranging from 1494 to 1497.
In 1999, after more than twenty years of work, it was concluded that the last conservative intervention by the removal of so many repainting, has brought to light the remains of the original drafts.



FULL: 10,00 Euro (+ advance booking fee 2,00 Euro)


From Tuesday to Sunday 08.15 am - 07.00 pm.

Last admission 6.30 p.m.

Max. 25 admitted every 15 minutes.



cenacolo vinciano

The refectory of the ancient Dominican monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie contains The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, painted on the north wall between 1494 and 1498, at the time of Ludovico il Moro, Duke of Milan. On the opposite wall is the fresco of The Crucifixion by Lombard painter Giovanni Donato da Montorfano, from 1495.
Thus the initial and final episodes of the Passion of Christ are both found represented in the same environment.
The Last Supper is the result of a long study on the traditional iconography of this theme, begun by Leonardo in around 1490.
Unlike his previous paintings, in which the moment of identification of the treacherous Judas was depicted, Leonardo chooses to represent the immediately preceding moment, that of the announcement: "... one of you will betray me".
This upsetting revelation offers the cue to enable Leonardo to focus his attention on the passions that are unleashed in the group of apostles on hearing the announcement.
The expressions on their faces, their postures and the movement of their hands express those "moti dell'animo" (emotions) that were one of the most important and innovative fields of investigation in the Maestro's work.
Then the clever use of perspective contributes to making spectators feel part of the scene, recreating a continuity between the real space of the refectory and the space of the painting.
One of the peculiarities of the work is the technique used. To represent The Last Supper, in fact, Leonardo did not rely on the traditional "buon fresco" (true fresco) technique, which would have required very speedy execution, due to having to work on the wall when on the plaster was still damp; rather, he experimented with an innovative "dry" technique similar to that used for painting on panels, which was ideal for achieving the best effects of light and shade and for obtaining the characteristic "sfumato" (blending) of tones.
This choice, which enabled Leonardo to proceed in a very meditated way, nevertheless made the painting extremely fragile. Indeed, a few years after the completion of his masterpiece, the first signs of the deterioration of the painting began to appear, becoming increasingly serious with time.
Numerous restorations were therefore necessary, from the 18th century onwards, until the last one was completed in 1999, after twenty years of hard work. During this work thick layers of dirt and materials associated with the previous restoration work were removed, allowing the very bright portions that had survived from the original paintwork to emerge.