Formal Analysis of The Last Supper

Essay by tentaclemusumeCollege, Undergraduate November 2014

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Jingdi Yang

Revision of Semester Writing Project 1

ARTHI 1001-003

31 October 2014

Formal Analysis of Last Supper

The Painting Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci was painted in 1494 - 1498. It is 460 cm in length and 880 cm in width. It is located in Santa Maria delle Frazie, Milan. It is painted by tempera and oil on plaster. This painting is one of the most famous paintings in the world because of the simplification of lines and the skillful composition that make Jesus Christ as the focal point.

In the painting, Jesus Christ and his twelve apostles are sitting together and having supper behind a long table in a dining hall. Three big windows behind them show the landscape outside. There are two different types of line in this painting: straight lines and curves. The borderlines of ceiling, top of the doors and windows and table are straight, while the borderlines of characters are curved.

Also the color contrast between characters and background is worthy talking: all the thirteen characters are wearing very colorful and bright clothes, but the color of ceiling and doors is very dark, which is similar to a dark yellow and grey; the color of tablecloth is white and very bright, which forms a high contrasting to those colorful and dark colors on characters' clothes and the ceiling and doors. What is more, the contrast between geometrical shapes and organic shapes is very obvious: all the tables, doors, windows and ceiling form geometrical shapes like rectangle; while the figures and food, containers on the table are in organic shapes that are very natural and represent the original shapes of those objects.

The composition of this painting is the most remarkable element. Many religious painters have painted the theme "last supper" in...