One of the main attractions of Milan, for which it is actually worthwhile to come to the northern capital of Italy, is the fresco "The Last Supper" by Leonardo da Vinci.
For the sake of the opportunity to look at it in Milan seek millions of tourists, regardless of the season.
Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie
The original fresco is in the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie (Santa Maria delle Grazie) in the square of the same name in Milan. The church was built in the Renaissance. It was commissioned by architects Guiniforte Solari and Donato Bramante, Dominican monks.
The fresco "The Last Supper" was commissioned by the Duke of Milan, Ludovico Maria Sforzo, at the court of which Leonardo da Vinci won the fame of a skilled painter. The artist fulfilled the order in the refectory of the monastery in 1495-1497.
Damage and restoration
During its more than five thousand years of existence, the fresco was repeatedly damaged. And by the Dominican monks themselves, who cut off the bottom of the image along with the feet of Jesus and the nearest apostles. And the troops of Napoleon, who turned the church into a stable and threw stones at the heads of the apostles. And the Allied bombs that exploded on the roof during World War II. After the damage caused, well-intentioned restorers tried to correct the damage, but the result was not very good.
Already at the end of the 20th century, a lengthy restoration deleted all previous unsuccessful restoration attempts and corrected the damage caused to the fresco. But despite this, today's "Last Supper" is only a shadow from a masterpiece created by the great painter.
The photo below shows a restored copy:
Until now, many art scholars consider "Last Supper "Leonardo da Vinci the greatest work of world art. Even in the era of da Vinci, the fresco was considered his best work - its approximate dimensions are 880 by 460 cm. It is made on dry plaster using a thick layer of egg tempera. Due to the use of such fragile material, the fresco began to collapse some 20 years after its creation.
The picture shows the moment when Jesus Christ at dinner informs his disciples that one of them, Judas, sitting second on the right hand of Christ, will betray him. In the picture, Judas reaches with the left hand for the same dish as Jesus, and in the right he squeezes a bag of silver. To get lifelike and accurate, Leonardo for a long time watched the poses and facial expressions of his contemporaries in various situations.Most researchers of the works of Leonardo da Vinci came to the conclusion that the ideal place to contemplate a painting is a distance of 9 meters from it at a height of 3.5 meters from the floor.
The uniqueness of The Last Supper lies in the amazing diversity and richness of the emotions of the characters depicted. No other painting on the theme of the Last Supper can even be compared even with the uniqueness of the composition and the fine drawing of details with Leonardo’s masterpiece. Three or four days could pass, for which the master did not touch the future work of art.
And returning, he stood idle for hours before the sketch, examining it and criticizing his work.
Thanks to this, each character is not only a beautiful portrait, but also a clear character. Every detail is thought out and repeatedly weighed.
The most difficult thing for Leonardo when painting was to find models for writing Good, embodied in the image of Christ, and Evil, embodied in the image of Judas. There is even a legend about how the ideal models were found for these images in the great picture. Once the painter came to the performance of the church choir. And there, in the person of one of the young singing choirs, he saw a beautiful image of Jesus. He invited the boy to his workshop and completed several sketches. Three years later, the main work on The Last Supper was almost completed, and Leonardo never found a suitable model for Judah. And the customer was in a hurry, demanding an early completion of work. And so, having undertaken a many-day search, the artist saw a ragged man lying in a gutter. He was a young man, but he was drunk, ragged, and looked very decrepit. Deciding not to waste time sketching, da Vinci asked to bring this man directly to the cathedral. A limp body was dragged into the temple, and the master painted sinfulness from him, looking from his face.
When the work was finished, the tramp came to his senses and screamed in fright when he saw the painting. It turned out that he had already seen her, three years ago. Then he was young and full of dreams, and some artist invited him to pose for the image of Christ. Later, everything changed, he lost himself and fell into life.
Maybe this legend tells us that good and evil are two sides of the same coin. And in life it all depends on at what point they meet on our way.
Tickets, opening hours
Church visitors who wish to see the Last Supper can only get inside for inspection by groups of up to 25 people. Before entering, everyone, without fail, must undergo a procedure for removing contaminants from clothing, using special devices.
Moreover, the reservation must be paid immediately. That is, you can not pay later ordered in advance. In winter, when the flow of tourists decreases slightly, you can order tickets 1-2 months before the visit.
Buying tickets for the Evening (CENACOLO VINCIANO) is most advantageous on the official website of the Italian Ministry of Culture www.vivaticket.it, which is available in Italian and English, but in fact there are never any tickets there. As of 2019, an adult ticket costs 12 euros + 3.5 euros fee.
How to buy tickets at the last moment
How to see the famous fresco of Leonardo?
Shoveled the entire Internet and having analyzed dozens of intermediary sites, I can recommend only one reliable website for buying tickets at the last minute - this is www.getyourguide.ru
We go to the Milan section and select tickets worth from 44 euros with an English-speaking tour - such tickets are available for sale in about a week or two.
If you need to see the Last Supper urgently, then choose the option for 68 euros with a tour of Milan.
For example, on August 18 in the evening I managed to book tickets for August 21, while the nearest free window on the official website was not earlier than December. The cost of 2 tickets with a group tour of Milan turned out to be 136 euros.
Working hours: from 8-15 to 19-00 with a break from 12-00 to 15-00. On pre-holiday and holidays, the church is open from 11-30 to 18-30. Weekends - January 1, May 1, December 25.
How to get there
To get to the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, you can:
- By tram 18 towards Magenta, stop Santa Maria delle Grazie
- By metro line M2, stop Conciliazione or Cadorna
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