The Restoration of The Last Supper: Background information when reading Saving Italy

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Saving Italy

The Race to Rescue a Nation's Treasures from the Nazis

By Robert M. Edsel

Saving Italy
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  • Hardcover: May 2013,
    480 pages.
    Paperback: Feb 2014,
    496 pages.

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Book Reviewed by:
Heather A Phillips

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
The Restoration of The Last Supper

The Last Supper, completed by Leonardo da Vinci in 1498, is one of Western civilization's great cultural touchstones. Housed in the refectory of the Dominican Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, this late 15th century work was commissioned as part of planned renovations to the convent and church buildings by da Vinci's patron, Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan. The painting, which measures about 15 by 39 feet, depicts the desciple's immediate reactions following Christ's announcement that one of them will betray him before dawn. In spite of the emotional chaos that rings throughout the scene, the composition is ordered and serene. Christ's head is at the center of the composition, and the angling of the walls within the picture lead back to windows that display a view of hills and sky which frame the figure of Christ.

The Last Supper before its last restoration effortThe traditional method for painting murals was the fresco technique, in which water based paint is applied to fresh plaster, so that when the plaster dries...

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