The day I saw The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci
The Last Supper – Leonardo Da Vinci
It was a Thursday afternoon in the streets of Milan – Italy when together with 3 other Latinos I decided to go to the Basilica of Santa Maria Della Grazia. Adjacent to this place is the Cenacolo Vinciano where the great work of Leonardo Da Vinci has located: The Last Supper.
The place closed its doors at 6:00 pm. It was about 5:00 pm which meant that we would still have a couple of minutes to appreciate this painting. We arrived at the porter’s lodge, where 2 girls were sitting, and it was time to try my Italian. After a conversation of about 4 minutes in Spanish, English and my greeting in Italian we were informed that the only way to enter the place was with a reservation made in advance. This is usually booked a week in advance. Shit! I said to myself.
It was Thursday and the next day at 10:00 am I had my bus to Torino. I missed it, I thought. However, one of the girls takes a breath to say something else. Attentively I listen and she tells us that we could go tomorrow morning because there are people who usually cancel the reservations and we could take one of them. If we were lucky it could be for the same day, otherwise next week. Having no choice we left the place and I set my mental alarm for the next day at 7:00 am. The place opened at 8:00 am so I would have plenty of time to transport myself.
It was already Friday and I was on my way back to the basilica at the entrance I went to ask for my ticket. I was lucky! There was a tour at 9:15 am that lasted for 15 minutes. I immediately bought my ticket and made some time to have a coffee and a croissant in a café in front of the basilica.
“The 9:15” was heard in front of a glass door. That was my tour! They opened the first door and we entered about 30 people into a small space. This door closed and in front of us was another thick glass door which was closed at that moment. 2 minutes later, this door opened and we entered, but in front of us there was another door, leaving a smaller space between the doors. Behind the door was a slightly dark room. After a brief historical introduction by the guide, the door was opened and the new spectators entered. The room was very dimly lit and only a couple of lights could be seen pointing at either end of the walls. The place was about the size of a basketball court and quite tall. Just as I entered, I turned my gaze to the right and I had a strange feeling, pleasant but strange. It was a pleasure not very easy to express.
In front of me was something real and palpable: the original work of The Last Supper. Since my childhood, in Colombia, I had seen that same painting on every imaginable thing: Wooden pictures, paintings, posters, ceramics, etc. Most of our grandmothers or mothers have a picture of the Last Supper. But as the commonplace becomes landscape, I never wondered about the location of this work by Da Vinci. And there I was. Standing in front of a wall the size of 2 football arches (one on top of the other), which was painted between 1494 and 1498.
The guide started talking but at that moment I decided to focus my attention on the details of this mural. As it was painted on dry plaster, unlike normal paintings where the paints are mixed in wet plaster, it has not stood the test of time perfectly. After a couple of years of being painted, it started to have problems with the humidity of the place. Because of this, the painting has been remodelled several times. It has also been attacked by vandals and even part of the building where it is located was bombed during the wars. It is said that today very little remains of the real Last Supper painted by Da Vinci.
After about 15 minutes our tour was over. I was left with a new sensation to keep in my box of sensations and my camera a couple of details that perhaps are not in the Last Supper that my grandmother has to hang in her living room.
- Here is a link if you want to see more information about Milan in Italy and this well-known work: https://www.disfrutamilan.com/la-ultima-cena-leonardo-da-vinci