Leonardo and the Last Supper

Front Cover
Bloomsbury Publishing USA, Oct 30, 2012 - Art - 336 pages
18 Reviews
Early in 1495, Leonardo da Vinci began work in Milan on what would become one of history's most influential and beloved works of art-The Last Supper. After a dozen years at the court of Lodovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan, Leonardo was at a low point personally and professionally: at forty-three, in an era when he had almost reached the average life expectancy, he had failed, despite a number of prestigious commissions, to complete anything that truly fulfilled his astonishing promise. His latest failure was a giant bronze horse to honor Sforza's father: His 75 tons of bronze had been expropriated to be turned into cannons to help repel a French invasion of Italy. The commission to paint The Last Supper in the refectory of a Dominican convent was a small compensation, and his odds of completing it were not promising: Not only had he never worked on a painting of such a large size-15' high x 30' wide-but he had no experience in the extremely difficult medium of fresco.

In his compelling new book, Ross King explores how-amid war and the political and religious turmoil around him, and beset by his own insecurities and frustrations-Leonardo created the masterpiece that would forever define him. King unveils dozens of stories that are embedded in the painting. Examining who served as the models for the Apostles, he makes a unique claim: that Leonardo modeled two of them on himself. Reviewing Leonardo's religious beliefs, King paints a much more complex picture than the received wisdom that he was a heretic. The food that Leonardo, a famous vegetarian, placed on the table reveals as much as do the numerous hand gestures of those at Christ's banquet.

As King explains, many of the myths that have grown up around The Last Supper are wrong, but its true story is ever more interesting. Bringing to life a fascinating period in European history, Ross King presents an original portrait of one of the world's greatest geniuses through the lens of his most famous work.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4
4 stars
4
3 stars
10
2 stars
0
1 star
0

Review: Leonardo and the Last Supper

User Review  - Lillian Vancel - Goodreads

This is the nonfiction account of Leonardo DaVinci's creation of "The Last Supper'. It included some interesting details, including the process the artist went through to select models as well as the ... Read full review

Review: Leonardo and the Last Supper

User Review  - Matt - Goodreads

This book seemed to spend the preponderance of the time discussing political/military events in Milan, as well as an extensive amount of background on Leonardo. While the research was thorough and ... Read full review

Contents

20950392_ch01_6P
1
20950392_ch02_6P
325
20950392_ch99_6P
337
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2012)

Ross King is the highly praised author of Brunelleschi's Dome (the Book Sense Nonfiction Book of the Year in 2000), Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling (on the New York Times extended bestseller list), The Judgment of Paris, Machiavelli: Philosopher of Power, and two novels, Ex Libris and Domino. He lives outside Oxford in England.

Bibliographic information