Friday, July 07, 2006

The Last Supper

Wow! In the month since I wrote a web page about Leonardo Da Vinci's painting 'The last supper' it's had almost a million visitors! So here it is reproduced here and you can, if you wish, leave comments.

The Last Supper
- A Study of the Painting by Leonardo Da Vinci

The Last Supper is a painting painted between 1496 to 1498 by Leonardo Da Vinci in the refectory of the Dominican convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie
. The painting was made using experimental pigments directly on the dry plaster wall and unlike frescos, where the pigments are mixed with the wet plaster, it has not stood the test of time well. Even before it was finished there were problems with the paint flaking from the wall and Leonardo had to repair it. Over the years it has crumbled, been vandalized bombed and restored. Today we are probably looking at very little of the original.
The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci
There are a number of points of interest:

Was it a 'Passover'?

Definitely not! The meal was set the day before 'Good Friday' - the day Jesus was crucified. The feast of the Passover began at sunset on that day so this meal was a day too early and, looking out the windows in the background, too early in the day. Also the picture shows Jesus and the disciples seated. The passover is traditionally eaten reclining. If you read your bible you will find:
Matthew 26.2 "You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of man will be delivered up to be crucified." 26.3 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, who was called Ca'iaphas, 26.4 and took counsel together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. 26.5 But they said, "Not during the feast, lest there be a tumult among the people."

John 13.1 Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to...

The food

The table shows leavened bread (yet another reason it could not be the Passover), fish, wine and some type of herb present. To me there also appears to be cheese present. There is no sign of lamb which would traditionally have been eaten at the passover.

The Cups/Glasses/Wine/Plates

There are twelve glasses shown to be present, each containing a red wine. It would be normal to drink wine with the meal - water was often contaminated. The glasses were odd however. Glass was popular with the Romans of the time but the conservative Jews would have drunk from goblets made from clay or wood. Only the wealthy would have drunk from metal goblets. The same is true of metal plates, several of which are shown. There's no pitcher or jug shown from which the glasses could have been refilled. There is a small, apparently empty, glass bottle, but this is too small to have contained the wine needed.

The instant depicted

This is supposed to be the moment when Jesus, in the words of John says "Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me". The picture shows the reaction of the disciples to this.

What's that bit centre bottom?

Around 1652, some unknown vandal decided to insert another door into the refectory and apparently decided that the only logical spot for it was smack in the middle of that wall where Leonardo had painted Christ's feet. The only evidence we have of what the original painting looked like was an oil paint copy made in the 16th centaury and now housed in Tongerlo Abbey , Antwerp

Last Supper Copy

Just to complicate matters there's also a different version of the picture in a tapestry shown below:

The Knife

Due to it's poor condition there has been some argument about
the owner of the hand holding the knife (or, as some call it, - a dagger):

The knife names

The theories are:
  1. The hand belongs to John/Mary (whoever you choose to believe they are). Peter is holding his/her wrist. Andrew, who sees this, is horrified at this.
  2. The hand belongs to a separate, obscured person, probably John, with Mary shown at the right.
  3. The hand holding the knife belongs to Peter - he has it twisted backwards away from Judas
Let's look at each theory in turn:
  1. Here's an image which has been doctored to remove Judas. Notice anything odd?

    No Judas

    If that knife is being held by John/Mary then he/she has arms like a gorilla! Would Leonardo have made a mistake like this? There's also the evidence of John/Mary's fingers intertwined in front of him/her!

    On the right of Jesus

  2. Where's JohnThis suggestion assumes that the feminine figure at the right in the image is Mary Magdalene. In that case John, the youngest of the disciples is missing. The idea is that the hand belongs to John who is obscured by Peter and
    Judas. I find this very unlikely. If it were true - where exactly would John be?

    Maybe he dropped his glass?

  1. ArmThe last suggestion is that Peter is holding the knife at a very odd angle. The 'copies' suggest that this is the case and so too does this sketch by Leonardo - clearly that knife in the hand of Peter gave him some problems and he decided to practice.

John or Mary Magdalene?

In the fictional book 'The Da Vinci Code', Daniel Brown has his character Teabing suggest that the figure seated to Jesus' right is not the disciple John but is instead Mary Magdalene. The theory, suggested several times in the past, is that Jesus married Mary and after the crucifixion she had a child by him.
I must admit that to my eye 'John' does look very effeminate. But is that enough evidence for the figure being Mary? We need to consider the following:
  • Would the Church of the time have allowed this? John or Mary?
  • It was 'normal' at the time for a young man, and John was the youngest of the disciples, to be portrayed
    as effeminate
    . Not only Leonardo did this.
  • Leonardo is suspected to have been a homosexual.
  • If 'John' is 'Mary' then where is John? Hiding under the table?
  • Is that a necklace around 'John's' neck? If so - whatever happened to 'go, sell what you possess and give to the poor'. However no fewer than six others in the painting have a similar item, possibly a garment fastener.
  • In 'The Da Vinci Code' Teabing refers to 'delicate folded hands, and the hint of a bosom'. Sorry - I don't see either! John's hands don't look feminine and to see a 'bosom' you need a great deal of imagination.
By far the simplest explanation is that Leonardo portrayed a young and beardless John as effeminate. The Church of the time appeared quite happy to accept this as such.

Who is where in the picture?

Who is who?

The evidence for this comes from a contemporary document discovered in 1800 which gives the names of each person in the picture.

The grouping

Looking across the picture from left to right the disciples are shown in four groups of three:
  • Bartholomew, James Minor and Andrew form a group of three. All are horrified, Andrew to the point of holding his hands up in a "let's calm down " gesture.

  • Judas, Peter and John form the next group of three. Judas has his face in shadow and
    is clutching a small bag, presumably money. He was quite often portrayed with this in last supper paintings. He is also reaching for bread at the same time as Jesus is. Peter, in the fashion of the time, is shown clutching a knife and, with his hand on John's shoulder, is asking a feminine-looking John "Who does he say it is?". John leans toward him to hear what he says creating a V shape between himself and Jesus which has been interpreted by some as an indication of a marriage between 'Mary' and Jesus.

  • Christ is very much the calm person alone in the midst of the debate.

  • Thomas, James the Elder and Philip are next. 'Doubting' Thomas is pointing upward, maybe asking for one shred of evidence that this is so. His other hand is on the table between James and Philip as though seeking something solid. James the Elder looks stunned and seems to be watching Jesus' left hand. Philip seems to be asking 'Is it me?'.

  • Matthew, Thaddeus and Simon comprise the last group of three figures. Matthew and Thaddeus seem to be asking Simon about Jesus' statement.
The time

It was supposed to take place in the evening - after the sun had set. Leonardo however, shows the outside in the three windows as being sunlit. He also shows a third light source, apparently from the front left - exactly where the windows and door are in the building. It seems he was trying to create the illusion of a bigger building and suspected it would be used mostly during the day.

The end wall
Incidentally did you know that there are over 400,000 pages refering to this painting of which 50,000 also refer to Daniel Brown's book 'The Da Vinci Code'? 1750 entries also refer to an earlier book 'The Templar Revelation: Secret Guardians of the True Identity of Christ'
by written by Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince in 1997. 750 refer to an even earlier book Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln (Even Daniel Brown refers to this book within his story and the character 'Leigh Teabing' seems to be a combination of 'Richard Leigh' and an anagram of 'Baigent')

About Commenting

I've rejected a number of comments from people for or against religion. This isn't the place for that. it's about the painting and the various theories which have arisen from it.


Anonymous said...

James the Elder was John's brother, not Jesus'. There was a 3rd James that was Jesus' brother... most likely half brother. He led the early church in Jerusalem.

Anonymous said...

Can i just say, why all the fuss about this picture? i have never been able to understand it at all ! Its not like leonardo painted it while sat in front of the table, so why do people go on and on about the people in the pictures and who is supposed to be who. Its a fictional painting, painted by a guy sat in his studio, on his own, painting whatever came into his head, So will people plz calm down and stop acting like davinci was there when the meal was taking place...

John Chapman said...

The fuss is because it's a major work of art painted by a master of his trade. Books like The Da Vinci Code claim that Leonardo put a hidden meaning in the painting and that what we think it portrays is not it's true meaning.

It certainly wasn't painted by 'a guy sat in his studio' - it's painted on a wall. It probably wasn't painted by a guy 'on his own' - like all the master painters of the time he probably had assistants - apprentices learning their trade.

Finally his surname was not 'Da Vinci' - that simply means 'of Vinci' or where he came from. He went by the name Leonardo.

Anonymous said...

This is an excelent article about the painting "The Last Supper" definitly appears to have had a lot of time put into reading details and finding hidden stories about it.

Obviously the painting was not intended to change the true story behind what happened at the last supper, but to see things like a knife coming out of nowhere or a missing prophet is interesting and fun to read about.

Thanks so much for the article, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, please do more.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the work very, very good
M Feeney

Anonymous said...

i never understood why everyone was obsessed with this picture but some things actually fit and now i'm interseted in it. but can i just say, the web site that is given at the end, when you go and look there it has perfect clarity and you can clearly see that the knife is held by Peter. just go and look at it.

Anonymous said...

In your section regarding The Slavisa Pesci theory, you don't superimpose the image correctly.

I know how to do it right, and the resulting image is everything he says and more. I can send you a hi-res image to put on your blog if you'd like.

John Chapman said...

Having played with this image for quite some time I'm not sure about this. Please feel free to provide us with images/details of how to do this

John Chapman said...

Please use the e-mail link at to send comments including images.

Anonymous said...

sorry to ask
but i am a bit confused, why is all this being said about the paiting when it is clearly not original but the adabted version.
the original is completly different.

John Chapman said...

Of course! There is no way Leonardo could have known what the original scene would have looked like.

He depicted his interpretation of the scene and manipulated it for the purpose of display. I'm quite certain that the original event would have the subjects sat or more likely lying around a table rather than strung out on one side only.

Leonardo used many of the conventions of the time - he depicted Peter with a knife and Judas with a bag of money and his face in shadow. John, the youngest disciple, was depicted as effeminate.

It is Leonardo's interpretation which has aroused so much controversy. There are many who try to read secret messages into the painting. maybe this is true - or maybe not. That's up to the viewer to decide.

Anonymous said...

I think you did a fine job of addressing some "theories" concerning the last supper. First just let me say that you have to be close to insane to base a religious theology on an artists rendition of religious events.
Had Da Vinci gone to such extent to be as detailed as the conspiracy theorist claim I believe he would have placed fourteen people in the room and not thirteen. To claim that the artist had gone to such measures to "revel" the truth and then neglect such a basic detail is as as ridiculous as basing a theology on the painting in the first place.
Another bases of casting aside this theory is based in Jewish marriage doctrine of the time. Simply put marriage was till death. Divorce was permitted under certain circumstances but remarriage was denied and considered sin. Jesus was called the Bride Groom and the church as a whole the Bride of Christ. Had Jesus made this claim as a married man it would have been interpreted as a sinful claim as he would have been married already and claimed to be promised to another as well as intent to marry another. When the Elders of the Jews brought him to be crucified they had no accusation against him other than He claimed to be the Son of God.
This also brings to light that the claim is that he married Mary Magdalene who was a prostitute and caught in adultery. Had Jesus married her than he would have been in sin according to the Jewish law of the time and his sacrifice would have been of no effect. The law of the time clearly states that marring someone who has been married before is adultery and or marrying someone who is an adulterer is sin. The reason for this is that under Jewish law the only reason to divorce was because of adultery.
It is a stretch to try and determine Jesus as a married man and that he married a woman who was a know prostitute. Had he done so there would have been a solid bases to accuse Him and therefore a bases to crucify.

Oh and buy the way. the apostle James was the brother of John not the half brother of Jesus.

Closet Genius said...

I have a theory regarding the "knife".
Look at peter's left hand; notice how it is almost chopping "Mary" in the throat but look at Peter's left shoulder. It suggests tha his left arm is hung low as if he has someone in a headlock.
Now look at Peter's right hand. It can just be made out in the shaded area holding the wrist of the "assailant" who holds the knife.
My theory is that the "Assailant" is Judas who was rumoured to be homosexual. He misunderstood Jesus' passive nature and love for mankind and when he realised that jesus loved "mary" he tried to kill her.
Peter then wrestles with Judas, disarming him and throwing him out which led to the ultimate betrayal of Jesus.
I believe that the man standing in front of Peter in the painting is Da Vici himself obscuring the event and so keeping it a secret. It has probably been teasing the Roman Catholic leaders since it was painted.

Mick O'Shea
Bradford, West Yorkshire.

balu said...

On the link where you can look close up on the original, Mary/John does have interlocked hands. I do however agree that there is no bosom, but some women do not have large bosoms but it does not mean that they are not women

Anonymous said...

I like what you have doneto try and explain and evaluate the painting. On trips to europe I try to visit old churches and seek out and photograph paintings of the last supper. While in spain just last week I found one in a side chapel and it depicted an individual with a robe over the top half of there body,bareing the chest, but there head leaning on jesus shoulder. Mary ? but other parts of the painting are true to DiVinci. I just find it interesting..

Anonymous said...

This was very interesting to read, it made me laugh because many of these statements are very true and I like the way it proved "The Da Vinci Code" has dumb statements. It is very nice that the bible is quoted, too. And I say that Leonardo just made John look effeminate... Maybe he didn't attend to do so, but sine no one opposed to it, he let John look this way.

Anonymous said...

hi,i just want to ask something and am really interested in knowing the answer! If you look on the left and side where Peter, Mary/John etc are seated, count their arms, you can see two for Bartholomew (infront of him), two for James (one on the table, one over Andrew shoulder), two for Andrew (held in front of him), two for Judas (both in front of him one holding something and one going for someting ont he table) and two for the Mary/John person (cradled in front on the table). The only people left that could possible be the one holding the knife/dagger are Pete or in fact John; if it is really Mary sitting next to Jesus!
I have observed many photographs of this painting and not one has proved my theory wrong, am i just seeing things or could i have a point? I am very interested to know please reply!!

John Chapman said...

Traditionally Judas is always shown in 'last supper' paintings clutching a bag of money and has either a dark halo or is shown in shade. Peter is always depicted clutching a sword or knife. Leonado simply followed the fashion of the time.

Anonymous said...

First, it's important to separate what Leonardo had in mind from what is or is not accepted Christian doctrine. I think we're dealing at least partly with legend one way or the other.
I'm just an interested layman with no claim to special knowledge, but I've read a few things.
Was the figure at Jesus's right hand John of Zebedee or Mary Magdalene? In answer to "Where is John if that's Mary," you could as easily ask, "Where is Mary Magdalene if it's John?" Wasn't she the "Apostle to the Apostles"? The Magdalene traditionally is depicted with red hair, like the figure in the painting. Where Jesus wears blue over red, this person wears red over blue. Would Leonardo have done that accidentally? Theologian Ramon K. Jusino makes a strong case that the "beloved disciple" and author of the fourth gospel was Mary Magdalene. I find Jusin's argument logical and convincing. and at least a partial answer to that controversy.

Unknown said...

Hello, my name is Roland. I sometimes check out these stories of the Da Vinci code, cause some of it is intriguing. On the other hand, I look at it as a type of Tom Clancy novel. A way of making up a fiction to be fact for the sake of telling a story. Before I go on, why do you have a picture of Rasputin as your pro pic? Maybe I should read more before I ask that question. As I was saying, Factional Story Telling. If you have an open mind enough to read on, let me ask this... Do you think just by some chance that Leonardo was only as good an artist as could be expected, for the time in which he lived in? For instance, artist of today are far advanced in technique and can draw or paint people or objects to almost exact portrayals. As Da Vinci was far capable of painting than the cavemen long before him. As I understand it, he was commissioned to paint this, so he also was most likely to have been rushed to make a deadline, causing him to make some mistakes along the way. Study the artwork in which he did leisurely against the Commissioned artwork. Even artist of today do not show as much pride in "commercial art". He seemed to have taken his time with his "hobby art", which is far more detailed. I agree he was great, but when rushed... maybe not so great. I believe the hand and the knife was of the person talking to John or Mary, but held to his own side, while his other hand is on the shoulder of John Or Mary, simply in a "Excuse me, I'm talking to you" manor. At the time of Da Vinci, the artistic techniques were not as they are today. If you really want a speck of proof of this... look at their feet. Almost all are disproportioned not only in size, but in their positioning as well. I can see however how some may think the person next to Christ is either John Or Mary. But also ponder on this. Was it not in fact a sign of manhood to wear a beard for the Jewish men of the days of Christ as it is today? And being even more realistic, They didn't have the common practice of shaving in the days of Christ either as far as I'm led to believe. In my opinion, not any of the paintings from that era should be looked at as a definitive portrayal, of anything. Especially Leonardo. He was known not only for his artwork, but mostly for his imagination, and I think it was that imagination, that led him to, "add a little of himself", as he was known to do.It is quite possibly he could has been told to add a little here and take from there, by the very people who comissioned him to paint the portrayal. We'll never know. I for one do not believe in any hidden code, but I do love a good story. My Email address is please tell me what you think of my little rant here, and I'll keep an open mind. Thank you, God bless and Take Care.

Anonymous said...

I have been studying the Last Supper for nearly five years. First, I would like to know what plate you think there is cheese. Secondly, I am trying to identify the varieties of flowers on the murals from the early Tongerlo Abbey copy of the art. Finally, the doorways on the east and west walls are not aligned with the DaVinci perspective. I have only been able to locate two early copies of the art; one with the doors in alignment and the painting at Tongerlo Abbey which matches the original. I am preparing to recreate the art in stained glass and desire to be as true to the original as possible. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Great page. In the 70 percent picture where it flips back and forth, look over Barthelmews (sorry about the spelling)head, I see a faint outline of a chalice. Kevin

Anonymous said...


you can see my photo of "The Last Supper" carved, full size, in salt, in Poland.

Anonymous said...

to make things even more complicated take a look at the younger James and Philip they could be women..

Anonymous said...

further to my observation that there are 3 women
at "The Last Supper" you'll note Leonardo used similar colors for their garbs to differentiate the women from the men........besides the obvious "Mary".....who were the other two?

Anonymous said...

Hi Jay, I had a good look at the Italian site you recommended in your web page.

I closely inspected the land with the knife, and I think you got it very wrong.

If you go back to the Italian website and enlarge the picture you will see that what you think is Peter's wrist and hand, is actually Peter's wrist in front of another person's wrist and forearm.

Look to the right of the hand and covered wrist of peter, and you will see part of the knife holder's forearm, so it is definately NOT Peter holding the knife, but someone who is obscured by the others in the picture.

Also, Da Vinci is well known for his anatomical correctness, and if you use your own hand as a model, you will see it is impossible for Peter to be holding the knife unless he is double jointed.

Try it, when you hold and object, with your wrist and hand turned back like that with your forearm in that position, only the outer part of the thumb is slightly exposed, not the inner side with the ball of the thumb as shown in the last supper.

Cheers, J

Anonymous said...

In this generation we have computers with some powerful softwares that can modify images, videos ech... If i will try to modify, reverse, or do some mirror procedures to a one image just to find some result form in different shapes like a man, animals, devils, angels ech... Then i will make my own meaning for what i saw in the image. And then I will say: "this is the secret code of this image"... Think of it... Even me i can make my own theory... (sorry for my english...)

Anonymous said...

I have only one question: why doors on the right much smaller than doors on the left?


Anonymous said...

hey.. what i feel is that peter is trying to overpower someone who is hidden between peter & judas... if you have a closer look at that painting you will find out that peter is holding the hand of that person who is having a knife & by his another hand he is trying to hold that person down... the hand on John/Marry's shoulder is of that person....

Anonymous said...

hey..what i feel is that peter is trying to overpower a person who is hidden between peter & judas... if you have a closer look at the painting you will find out that by one hand peter is holdind the hand of that person who is having a knife & by other one peter is holding that person down.. hand on John/Marry's shoulder is of that person who is being overpowered..

Anonymous said...

hey... I think that peter is trying to overpower someone.. If you have a closer look at that painting you will find out that by one hand peter is holding the hand of that person who is having a knife & by other peter is holdind that person down and in this process that person is hidden between Peter & Judas.The hand which appears to be on John/Marry's shoulder is actually in the air.

Christine said...

Wow......thanks so much for the insight. I really wanted to understand this artwork more, especially since my grandma has two-yard and one and a half yard version that is soooooooooooo different than the orignal Vinci painting. Thanks again.

Christine said...

Wow......thanks so much for the insight. I really wanted to understand this artwork more, especially since my grandma has two-yard and one and a half yard version that is soooooooooooo different than the orignal Vinci painting. Thanks again. Good work and thanks for not making it Italian and complicated. :)

D said...

Very cool! Check out what I found in the last supper: or my blog - derek

Anonymous said...

I find the first painting with the superimposed mirror image the best that works with Pesci's theories, as well as some of my own. The Templar knight is very clear, and a baby is also somewhat present in Philip's arms. I cannot really see a chalice unless I imagine really hard. Another image I see is two men kissing. If da Vinci was really a homosexual then this would be explained. Also, the "cyclops" Jesus could be explained by stating that his eye was the "All Seeing Eye".

Sam said...

Regarding the tattoo on the person's hand, I can clearly see some markings on the little finger of his right hand. Or is this coincidental deterioration in that specific spot?

Anonymous said...

The eight tapestries on the walls don't seem to be discussed much. You can kind of make out a faint face depicted in the second one on the left in the picture of the faded original wall painting. The clearer tapestry depiction makes these out to be flowery wall rugs instead. Is this face a faded person in the background or merely part of one of the wall tapestries depictions, the detail of which the later tapestry maker decided was not worth including (worth converting to flowers only).

By the way, it is always interesting to see comments that people see a chalice on the left wall where the first doorway is -- they don't realize the smaller lighter color spaces are the framed doorways with the top of the open doors creating the flat lines parallel to the table (instead of parallel to the line of the ceiling and tops of the tapestries hanging between them).


You must understand one thing, the painting of the Last Supper was made with mistakes as far as who was there and who wasn't. First of all only Jesus and his apostles were at the last supper. It is true that the Virgin Mary was invited but she left before the actual supper, (which is also the main part of the Roman Catholic Mass). Also it is true that James was called his brother but that was because first cousins in those days were called brothers and sisters. Also remember Jesus called everyone his brother and sister. So please remember that there were no women at the Last Supper and the only child that Mary had was Jesus.


The main thing you must understand is Leonardo made a big mistake and that is there were no women at the Last Supper. Now it is true that the Virgin Mary was invited but she left before the supper took place. Also James was not Jesus's actual brother, he was a first cousin. And first cousins in those days were called brother or sister.They say that James might be a half brother and Joseph was his father but there is no proof of that. Also remember that Jesus called everyone his brother or sister. The only child Mary had was Jesus.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the point of your article. As far as I know, The Last Supper is Leonardo da Vinci's idea of what the last supper was and how it looked, beyond that, all the speculations are vanity.

Neomodernist said...

I enjoyed your webpage. I only wish it allowed for really magnifying the painting. I could not get the Italian site to function.

About that hand with the knife: I am convinced that Leonardo just made a mistake, forgetting to paint over it--I don't see how it can be assimilated into the rest of the painting.

In relation to the Last Supper, recently (April 2011) the Discovery newsletter posted a theory that it took place on the day before the one we celebrate as Holy Thursday (on our Wednesday) because Jesus was using a Jewish calendar older than the one that came down to us; that this accords with the chronology given in the Gospel of John, and leaves time for all the events of the Passion.

Inga Magnusdottir said...

Hi, and thanks for your website. I will take a closer look at it in the near future.

Yesterday I bought a canvas and I've just started sowing da Vinci's Last Supper. The background colours have been changed (don't like that) but the apostles and Jesus are in the same position as in the painting and their garments are coloured almost according to the painting.

But the knive is missing from the canvas pattern but the hand is there ...

I saw a sawn canvas of the Last Supper, a different pattern though, at the store where I bought my canvas on 16 May 2011. I didn't look at small details.

Two years ago I saw a sown canvas of the Last Supper; very beautiful and special, in a nursery home in my home town.

I'm going to take a closer look at these soon, to make comparison with my canvas and of course I'm interested to see if the knive appears in these sawn canvases, and other details ...

Best regards,
Inga, Reykhjavik, Iceland.

Robert Tulip said...

The figures in the Last Supper are modeled on the stars of the zodiac. I prove this in detail at - The Zodiac in Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper

The linked thread presents my working out of this idea, and so contains some errors in early posts which I endeavour to find and correct. I would like to write up this theory for publication.

Robert Tulip

John Chapman said...

Interesting idea Robert and certainly as valid as that of some theories. Leonardo would certainly have known the constellations and your idea does go some way to explaining why he drew the hand with the knife at such an odd angle. As to the other characters the constellations don't quite fit all of them though.

Robert Tulip said...

Thanks JayDax. Actually, all twelve apostles do fit the stars of the zodiac in order. This is the real Da Vinci Code. I prove this here:

Unknown said...

With all respect, for the 'Hand of The Mysteries, Daniel Brown actually referred to albrecht Durer's LAST SUPPER, not Da Vinci's. I Hope that makes things clearer

nanny57 said...

Wow - that is interesting, have to read some more when I have more time, but, thanks. If Da Vinci died 1500 years after Christ died and rose - how would his depiction of the last supper be valid confirmation of the Life and Times of Jesus Christ. It is intriguing - whether we roam the earth with His spiritual heirs and fleshly heirs in hiding, or just the spiritual heirs - it is intriguing.
Truthfully I would be equally enthusiastic about the paintings and it's mysteries. I would also continue equal enthusiasm about Christ either way. Thank you for sharing this information, insight, and investigative drive - it is awesome!

Anonymous said...

I use to have a huge Bible that had a picture of the Last Supper. It gave some insite on the painting. My mother gave my Bible away but I remember reading that it said that Di Vinci had originally painted a glass a wine in Jesus's right hand. He asked a friend his opinion of the painting. One of the comments that he made was that that glass of wine looked real! Di Vince painted it out & just left his hand looking curved like it would look if the wine was there. He said that he didn't want anything to distract a viewer from the person of Jesus! I thought was such a great little piece of trivia. But that Bible is now gone, thanks to my mother. Can you tell me where I might find it on the internet? I have searched & haven't been able to find it yet! BTW, I so enjoyed reading all you have on your site! Thank you so much for any help I can find here!

Anonymous said...

With regard to the 'Mary Magdalene or John' figure - for what its worth, you may be interested to know that in Leonardo's own words - from his notebooks, he describes all the figures as painted, using only references to men (i.e. 'his', 'he').

Anonymous said...

i'm simply confused.its just that there's so much to absorb at once

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable to even think the John has been depicted as effeminate. Other men portrayed as effeminate during this time still appear masculine. The women depicted in the painting has no element of masculinity whatsoever and to argue otherwise is ridiculous.

I sympathise with you if this fact contradicts your religious belief, but perhaps its time to accept some hard cold facts.

rogue2889 said...

Have you read the new book "Leonardo Heretic or Herald of Truth" It has a very interesting interpretation of the Last Supper.

The_One said...

I had a look at the movie... what i can see in that picture of Leonardo is a conspiracy against Jesus, Well let me explain,

Even if everyone was "followers" of Jesus this group of person formed different views about him.

lets start from a summary of the whole picture: Everyone except Jesus and Mary/john seem to be anxious or tensed.

Now lets start briefly from Jesus to the right

James the brother of Jesus: We all love you Jesus.....

Thomas: Jesus please don't trust all of us, i know what am saying believe me....

Philip: Don't listen to Thomas. We are all a family,

Matthew: We were not suppose to talk about our plan to Jesus what are these three doing ?

Thaddus:Are u sure they are revealing our plan to Jesus? feeling kind of afraid also thinking and asking to Simon what to do now . This expression can be read on his face

Simon: I don't know i said it before this plan wont work. i really don't know what to do next.

NOW back to center where Jesus is to the left

john/Mary: was talking to so that she distract her attention so that they can attack Jesus.

Peter: was trying to take the attention of John/Mary.

Judas: was the one to see if any one was looking and he was the one who shall have confirm if "the one who was supposed to attack" can attack...

As even the painter does not know who was assign to kill Jesus he didn't put his face on the picture but represent it by a weapon used to kill at these time. The killer was handling the Weapon to Andrew

Andrew: totally refuse to take the weapon with him as he also didn't know who really behind this conspiracy, afraid of the consequences he totally refuse to hide the knife and this was advice by James the younger

Bartholomew: was so excited that he was half stand and half sitting , he wanna see how this will be done and who will be the killer.

NOW friends, As per me: we all thought that the Illuminati started in the 16th or 17 century. This paintings Shows the prof that they existed long time before that, May be Leonardo was one of them, he was the messenger, communication were done through Paints so that those ignorants about their society will not be able to understand the message. Why would Da-vinci... code everything if there were not secrets??

Now i would take the name of MARY, as the personality is not john. She was the only woman in this picture. she was allowed by Jesus, as they we in love, Mary was never a prostitute, she was form royal family as the film explained.

All this was planned, Jesus also knows that his follower was conspiring against him. BUT he was both GOD and HUMAN, i think u got it ,

after analysis of the picture there are lots of things i can say but i don't want to hurt anyone..

In Jesus i believe and Mary is the one... SHE is among US... the SANG-REAL

contact me for more information

Anonymous said...

what are the letters meaning on the top

Anonymous said...

Hey I am writing a paper about The Last Supper and I am studying it in my high Renaissance class. I would like to thank you very much for having all of this useful and knowledgeable information in one place! You are awesome and I will be using some of the topics that you wrote about and "theories" in my paper. Again you have no idea how thankful I am to have found your blog!

Anonymous said...

Hi, on the picture of Andrew's right hand there is a woman painting tatoo on it ! clearly for me :-) In Indian Ancient time,
women were showing their feminity by having there hands even fingers hand painted in lacemaking.

See that video on youtube
Intricate full hand henna // mehndi design

It is a nice secret way of telling the truth that a woman is behind representation of Andrew.

Anonymous said...

A painting of a woman on Andrew's hand?

Can you see the canals on pictures of Mars too?

Bell said...

A very interesting anaysis i must say, Good work! Here: you can find a complementary analyses regarding a "hidden" baby infront of Judas and also some alternative ideas about the knife/dagger.

John Chapman said...

Interesting, but frankly I think you are seeing 'canals on Mars'. Considering the poor quality of the original you really need to see if this 'baby' shows up on the copies. I don't see any sign of it there.

It may be that there are other items to find in the picture too.

Anonymous said...

I have recently seen another objarder to ect/image/depiction created in the 17th century and on view with other objects which shows John/Mary leaning the other way with their head rested on Jesus' chest/ shoulder with waht looks like Jesus' laying a comforting hand on the person's shoulder. Only the finger tips appear visible as his arm is obvously behind the person.

Harder to accept this is still John not that I mind either way but its what I saw. I am sure I am not the first to have seen this. Its one of the most famous museums and collection in the world. Any one else know of such an image?

Anonymous said...

I have recently seen another object/image/depiction created in the 17th century and on view with other objects which shows John/Mary leaning the other way with their head rested on Jesus' chest/ shoulder with what looks like Jesus' laying a comforting hand on the person's shoulder. Only the finger tips appear visible as his arm is obvously behind the person.

Harder to accept this is still John not that I mind either way but its what I saw. I am sure I am not the first to have seen this. Its one of the most famous museums and collection in the world. Any one else know of such an image?

Anonymous said...

Very good, this will become one of my favourite sites for my Leonardo do Vinci project, but I have to criticise one thing: It was proven that Leonardo had subtitles in his books which are linked to new inventions like the nuclear bomb, social networks, and the fewer resources! So why would't it be able for that genius to also have some mysteries behind his picture that you can only see via a photo editing process from the days now?

Darshan S said...

Just an observation.

The dress codes of Mary & Jesus are interchanged. Is it a practice in olden days that the female wears the opposite of what the males used to dress.? I mean, Jesus sh-wall is Blue and the dress is red. Its opposite in Marys case. Red sh-wall and blue dress. For me it looked there is some connection.

Anonymous said...

Hi! Wow I'm way behind on this article... regardless, I just read Ross King's latest book, "Leonardo and the Last Supper" and it is quite an incredible read. Something you might find interesting!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a very informative page on this painting. Exactly what I was looking for. Especially the early reproductions are valuable in view of the heavily reworked and degraded original.

The hands of Mary/John are very heavy and wooden now, this did not seem to fit Leonardo's fine style.

I also like your open minded approach to Mary/John question ( although I have no time for Brown's plagiarism, Baignet and Leigh are more honest and therefore interesting ).

A couple of comments: The finger of Thomas is a strikingly feature. Thanks for 'hand of mysteries' explanation. I think you miss the point that this may be Leonardo's invitation to the viewer, not Thomas' to another character in the scene.

"If 'John' is 'Mary' then where is John? Hiding under the table?"

If you read Baignet and Leigh "John" may actually be Mary. The name John was only attributed to this character in the 3rd or 4th century, prior to that he was always referred to anonymously as "the one Jesus loved".

Not only is this character effeminate, (s)he stands out as being of a much fairer complexion than all the others. Another feature being the only one which hands clasped, not gesticulating.

There is certainly much more to be gleaned from this message from the master.

Thanks again.