There’s no doubt that it’s a special painting – a masterpiece, in fact – while its creator is one of the most celebrated and enigmatic artists in history. And the scene the artwork portrays is among the most powerful ever depicted, too – not least because the event so stunningly brought to life is central to the story of a world religion. But could there be even more to Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper than this? Well, according to some, the classic mural could hold a clandestine message – or messages – that has eluded understanding for generations.
As one of the most famous and frequently discussed works in Western art, though, The Last Supper should really hold no secrets. After all, countless experts have pored over the painting in the centuries since its creation. Yet while The Last Supper has earned its place in history, many myths and legends have sprung up in its wake.
So, what does the painting itself reveal? Well, central to the work, of course, is Jesus Christ – the son of God according to the Christian religion. And Christ is surrounded in The Last Supper by his 12 apostles. As the Bible tells it, these were the 12 men who most closely followed the teachings of Jesus and who would advance his message after his crucifixion.
And for Christians and art lovers the world over, the scene portrayed in the painting is a powerful one. Conventional thought says that the work depicts the last supper of Jesus and the apostles before Judas’ ultimate betrayal and Christ’s subsequent crucifixion. This event, as set out in the four canonical Gospels, forms one of the most powerful foundations of Christian tradition and rite: the Eucharist, or Holy Communion.