The Last Supper, painted by Leonardo da Vinci between 1495 and 1498, is one of the most famous and revered artworks in history!
After all, who never saw it on school’s books, in popular movies or revisited more recently as an internet meme? I guess, nobody older than 5 years old!
Commissioned by Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan, this fresco represents the moment when Jesus Christ informs his apostles that one of them will betray him.
Nowadays, after undergoing several restorations, the painting graces the walls of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, not far from the city center of Milan, Italy.
If you are planning a visit to the Church to get a view of the painting and perhaps a great photo-souvenir, you are in the right place!
In this article, you will find all the practical info you need to visit the Last Supper and a short Free Pocket Guide that will help you to see Leonardo’s masterpiece with informed eyes.
The Last Supper:
One of the Most Iconic Paintings in the World,
and a highlight of your next visit to Milan!
Practical Tips to Visit the Last Supper in Milan
1. Where is the “Last Supper” in Milan?
The Last Supper is housed in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the heart of Milan.
The address is: Piazza Santa Maria delle Grazie, 20123 Milan, Italy.
Here you can see it on the map ;D
2. When should you Buy Tickets for the Last Supper?
If you are already in Milan, it might be already too late.
If you plan your visit in the two months, the best time is: NOW!
Seriously! Due to the fragile nature of the painting and efforts to preserve it, strict admission rules apply and it’s necessary to book way in advance!
Visitors are allowed in small groups of 25-30 people, and each group has a 15-minute time slot to view the painting.
The Last Supper attracts millions of visitors each year, so it’s crucial to plan your visit well in advance.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT THE LAST SUPPER?
The best time to visit the church is during the off-peak season (October to February) when the crowds are smaller, and the weather is cooler.
Said that, if you’re planning to visit in summer don’t give up, just be sure to plan ahead of time 😉
3. How to Buy Tickets for the Last Supper?
The Last Supper tickets are released two to six months in advance and sell out quickly.
Prices range from €12 to €15, including a reservation fee.
Another option is to join a guided group tour.
These tours typically include entrance to the Last Supper, an expert guide, and often additional attractions in Milan, such as the Duomo and the Sforza Castle.
Group tours can be more expensive than individual tickets, but offer an in-depth experience and are an excellent option if you’re short on time and you want squeeze out the best from your Milan experience!
DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT TICKET RESERVATION TOO LATE?
If you didn’t manage to secure tickets in advance, don’t lose hope!
Sometimes, a limited number of last-minute tickets are released on the official website or through authorized resellers.
Keep checking these platforms for any availability.
4. Is Visiting the Last Supper worth it?
In short, my personal honest opinion: yes it is.
Personally, having being grown in Italy (which you might also call the “land of Churches”) I hardly ever get stupefied by churches.
I saw already so many of them: big, small, Gothic, Romanic, Roman, Reinassance, even on top of mountains… you name it!
In Italy we have as many churches as Pizzerias, and believe me they are countless! eheh
Still, the experience to visit the Convento delle Grazie and the Last Supper is something that I remember clearly: the small number of visitors allowed creates an intimate experience and seeing that famous painting just brings you to think about Leonardo Da Vinci being there and painting it!
If you have the chance to visit Milan and you can get your hands on the tickets, I would recommend you add a visit to the Last Supper to your Bucket List, you won’t regret it 🙂
4 .Free Pocket Guide to the Last Supper –
What Should you Know before your Visit?
For some people, seeing, taking a pic and move on is enough. Nothing bad about it 🙂
For others though (like me and maybe like you!), it’s always interesting to know something more about what we see.
Personally, I believe that learning the background of what we can admire is what truly makes the difference between a tourist and a traveler 😉
So, if you’re interested to enrich your visit to the Last Supper of Leonardo da Vinci, from here on you will find important quick info about the painting that will change your eyes and your experience once you are going to visit it 😀
4.1 HISTORICAL CONTEXT
The Last Supper was created during the height of the Italian Renaissance (1500-1600 D.C), a period of unprecedented artistic and intellectual growth.
This era was marked by a renewed interest in classical art, literature, and philosophy, as well as advancements in science and technology. As a quintessential Renaissance man, Leonardo da Vinci embodied the movement’s spirit of creativity and innovation.
Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan, commissioned Leonardo to create the Last Supper as part of his effort to establish Milan as a center of artistic and cultural excellence.
The fresco was intended to adorn the Dominican convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, which the Duke was renovating as a family mausoleum.
4.2 DESCRIPTION OF THE PAINTING
Composition and Perspective: Leonardo employed a single-point linear perspective to create a sense of depth and realism in the Last Supper. The vanishing point, where all the lines converge, is located behind Christ’s head, drawing the viewer’s attention to him as the central figure. The architectural elements, such as the ceiling and walls, further enhance the perspective.
Depiction of the Apostles : The apostles are grouped in clusters of three, each reacting differently to Christ’s announcement of betrayal. The arrangement emphasizes their individual personalities and emotional responses. Leonardo carefully studied human anatomy and facial expressions, allowing him to capture the apostles’ emotions with remarkable accuracy.
Symbolism and Emotion: Leonardo’s use of symbolism in the Last Supper is subtle but significant. For instance, the absence of a halo around Christ’s head represents his humanity, while the spilled salt near Judas signifies his impending betrayal. The painting’s emotional intensity is further heightened by the use of chiaroscuro, the contrast between light and shadow, which lends a sense of drama and tension to the scene.
4.3 TECHNIQUES AND MATERIALS USED
Experimental Technique: Instead of using the typical fresco technique, which involves applying water-based pigments to wet plaster, Leonardo opted for a combination of oil and tempera on a dry wall. This decision allowed him greater flexibility in terms of color application and layering, as well as the ability to make adjustments during the painting process.
Preservation Issues and Restoration: Unfortunately, the experimental technique proved to be less durable than traditional fresco methods. The Last Supper began to deteriorate soon after its completion, and numerous attempts at restoration have been made over the centuries. The most recent and comprehensive restoration, conducted between 1978 and 1999, aimed to preserve the painting’s original appearance while removing layers of previous restorations.
4.4 INTERPRETATIONS AND CONTROVERSIES
Possible Hidden Meanings: Several theories have emerged about hidden meanings or messages within the Last Supper. Some art historians argue that the placement of the apostles, their gestures, and the objects in the painting may contain symbolic references to the nature of Christ and his teachings. Others suggest that Leonardo incorporated elements of his own beliefs or secret knowledge into the artwork.
Theories and Speculations: The Last Supper has also been the subject of numerous conspiracy theories and speculations. Popular books and films, such as The Da Vinci Code, have perpetuated the idea that Leonardo encoded secrets about the Holy Grail, the bloodline of Jesus Christ, or hidden religious truths within the painting. While these theories are largely unfounded, they have certainly contributed to the enduring fascination with this masterpiece.
5. Quick Tips for Visiting the Last Supper in Milan
PREPARE YOUR VISIT:
- Book your tickets as early as possible to secure a spot.
- Arrive at least 20 minutes before your scheduled time to ensure you don’t miss your time slot.
- Dress appropriately: you will be in a religious site!
- Familiarize yourself with the painting’s history and details to fully appreciate its significance.
DURING THE VISIT:
- You have either 15 or 30 minutes. If you plan to take some videos or photos, come prepared with your gear ready.
- Listen to the explanations provided by the on-site staff or your tour guide to gain insights into the painting’s history and techniques.
- Be respectful of other visitors and the artwork by maintaining silence and not using flash photography.
6. Conclusion: How To Visit the Last Supper in Milan
And here we arrived to the conclusion of this article.
In this post, we saw where is the last supper in Milan, how to buy tickets in advance and some insights about the historical context, painting techniques and popular culture that characterize this masterpiece.
What do you think? Do you have any other doubt? Have you visited the Last Supper before already and you would like to share your experience with other readers?
Just let us know in the comments below! 😀
Last but not least, before you go, if you stayed with me until this point of the article, I think you deserve a reward for loyal readers ;D
Hereafter, you find a reproduction of the Last Supper made by me and my family (that confirms what we said before, about how this painting is incredibly popular ahahah 😀 ).
PHOTO OF “LAST SUPPER”
FROM LEONARDO DA VINCI, MILAN (ITALY)
REPRODUCTION OF “LAST SUPPER”
FROM ME AND MY FAMILY (ITALY)
Hoping you liked our reproduction, I would like to thank you for reading this guide, and as always, we see each other in the next article! 😀
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