Outside the Walls of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy

Posted on May 5th, 2014 by

Visiting The Last Supper

On my last visit to Milan, I went to Santa Maria della Grazie, the church where DaVinci painted The Last Supper. I was surprised by its impact, both historically and the almost wonderfully horrific deterioration it faces. I wonder if Leonardo knew people would be viewing this work for over 500 years. He was going for more detail and luminosity then can be achieved with normal wet fresco techniques and instead painted on a dry wall. It isn’t really a fresco, and given your perspective, the ages have not been kind. I have always wondered how much of this was intended and how much was simply an experiment in technique. Was Leonardo chuckling to himself the entire time I painted the last supper? Is there hidden meaning, in the fight to keep everything from falling apart…something part of a grander design?

The painting is on one wall of the dining hall of the monastery. You only get 15 minutes with the work (and the Crucifixion on the opposite wall by Giovanni Donato da Montorfano). Security is TIGHT…I have never been anywhere with multiple automatic man traps. At your allotted time, you enter and get locked in, then another door opens, you move to the next trap and get locked in. Eventually the dining hall is opened and your small group is allowed inside (no photography of course due to the delicate nature of the art). Fifteen minutes was not enough time for me…I could have stayed and stared and felt much longer.

Walking the parameter

Walking to the metro, I walked around the perimeter walls of the monastery. This shot is from the street outside one of the courtyards.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 5 April, 2014
  • Focal length: 19mm
  • ISO: 500
  • Location: 45° 27.9857′ 0″ N 9° 10.2992′ 0″ E
  • Shutter speed: 1/2000s
  • Title: Outside the walls of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy