(Source Olga’s Gallery)
Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper is one of the artist’s most well-known works and, together with the Mona Lisa, was one of the two paintings that helped establish Leonardo’s fame as a painter. The work was commissioned by the Duke Lodovico Sforza, Leonardo’s patron, for the refectory (dining hall) of the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, in Milan, Italy. The wall painting, which Leonardo worked on between 1495 and 1498, is not a true fresco. The painter chose not to paint the piece on wet plaster, since that would severely limit the amount of time he could spend on the work. Instead he sealed the stone wall with a layer of resin (pitch and mastic) and chalk (gesso), and then painted over the sealing layer with tempera. Unfortunately, though this technique allowed him to depict the scene in exquisite detail, it did not prove very durable. The piece began deteriorating within only a few years after it was finished.