Friday, April 07, 2006

da Vinci's Last Supper


In a convent dining room in Milan, Italy, Leonardo da Vinci, dipped the bristles of his brush into paint and began a masterpiece on the wall. In 1495, he began a commissioned work of the last supper, 15 by 29 feet, covering an entire wall. A known procrastinator, he finished in 1498.

His art was not the only portrayal of Christ at the last supper. However, Leonardo’s Last Supper is acclaimed as the first to show the disciples displaying real emotions. The scene records the artist’s interpretation of the disciples’ reactions to an announcement Jesus made—just seconds before—that one of the 12 would betray him. Their countenances reflect questions, appall, and denial.

Over the years, the painting deteriorated. Paint flaked, and further damage occurred when a construction worker, not quite aware of his exact location in the convent, proceeded to open up a wall for a doorway. Standing on the other side of the painted wall, he chiseled away plaster, ripping out the portion of the painting where Jesus’ feet were.

In Leonardo’s Last Supper, all elements and persons point to the central figure of Jesus, very fitting. The apostle Paul wrote about that meal: “The Lord Jesus on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me’” (1 Corinthians 11:23).

Some Christians eat this “remembrance supper” each Sunday, while others do so at regular intervals or gatherings such as funerals and weddings. Each time Jesus is met at the table, it’s a time to look to the past, to the future, and inward.

Looking back. Remember the everyday Jesus, who brushed tears away with his fingertips, nurtured villages, chucked children under their chins. Recall his sacrifice, his forgiveness even from the cross.

Looking forward. Pray for Jesus to invade community and church, so peace is more prevalent than bickering. Ask for a better world, where people are clothed in purity and integrity, where Jesus is the standard for imitation, not Hollywood.

And, finally, during the meal with Jesus, look inward for traces of betrayal. Is his example the superior standard for personal behavior?

Leonardo’s work of art focused on the Christ. Help restore Jesus as a central figure in the 21st Century, and let the chiseling away at the Savior be relegated to history.

1 comment:

  1. Glad I found your site today. Would love to link to you at my new site for writer's (it's not quite done yet) that you can find here:

    Trying to build community and see where God leads. Blessings on your day, Cathy!