Tag Archives: Leonardo da Vinci

Of lobsters, guinea pigs, treachery and charity

image003Leonardo da Vinci’s fresco of Christ’s Last Supper is among the most immediately recognis­able paintings in the world. Versions are found on T-shirts, biscuit tins, coffee mugs and cushions. Leonardo’s painting, however, was created from within a long tradition of such works. This talk by Diana Hiller, entitled Of lobsters, guinea pigs, treachery and charity: changing Last Supper iconography, at the Museo Italiano, 199 Faraday Street, Carlton on Tuesday 11 August 2015 at 6.30pm, focuses on the iconography of Last Supper images from early secret versions on the walls of Roman catacombs to the large canvases of Tintoretto in some of the grand­est churches in Venice. From the mid-fourteenth century in Tuscany – and above all in Florence – the custom of decorating the end wall of a convent refectory with a Last Supper fresco became so popular that it was unusual for a refectory not to have one. The specific iconography altered with changing contexts; and variations in the works depended on such disparate features as the lo­cal foods available, the wealth of the convent, the ori­gin of the commissioning, where the works were placed and, in some instances, even the gender of the viewers.

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