The Last Supper
The story of the painting, The Last Supper,
is extremely interesting and instructive.
Two incidents connected with it afford a most convincing
lesson on the effects of right thinking or wrong thinking
in the life of a boy or girl, or of a man or woman.
The Last Supper was painted by Leonardo Da Vinci,
a noted Italian artist. The masterpiece took
seven years to complete. The figures representing
the Twelve Apostles and Christ Himself were painted
from living persons used as models by Da Vinci.
The life-model for the painting of the figure of Jesus
was chosen first. When it was decided that Da Vinci
would paint this great picture, hundreds and hundreds
of young men were carefully viewed in an endeavor
to find a face and personality exhibiting innocence
and beauty, free from the scars and signs of dissipation
caused by sin. Finally, after weeks of
laborious searching,a young man, nineteen years of age,
was selected as a model for the portrayal of Christ.
For six months, Da Vinci worked on the production
of this leading character of his famous painting.
During the next six years, Da Vinci continued working
on this sublime work of art. One by one, fitting persons
were chosen to represent each of eleven of the Apostles.
Space was left for the painting of the figure that
would represent Judas Iscariot as the final task for this
masterpiece. As you may remember, Judas Iscariot was the
Apostle who betrayed his Lord for thirty pieces of silver,
worth in our present day about $16.96.
For weeks, Da Vinci searched for a man with a hard,
callous face; a countenance marked by scars of avarice,
deceit, hypocrisy and crime; a face that would delineate
a character who would betray his best friend. After
many discouraging experiences in searching for just the
right type of person required to represent Judas, word
came to Da Vinci that a man whose appearance may fit his
requirements had been found in a dungeon in Rome,
sentenced to die for a life of crime and murder.
Da Vinci made the trip to Rome at once, and the man
was brought out from his imprisonment in the dungeon into
the light of the sun. There Da Vinci saw before him a
dark, swarthy man; his long, shaggy, unkempt hair sprawled
over his face. That face portrayed a character of
viciousness and complete ruin. At last, the painter had
found the person he wanted to represent the character of
Judas for The Last Supper.
With special permission of the King, this prisoner was
taken to Milan where Da Vinci was working on his painting.
For months, the prisoner sat before Da Vinci at appointed
hours each day as the gifted artist diligently continued
his task of transmitting to his painting this base
character as the traitor and betrayer of our Savior.
At last Da Vinci completed the work, turned to the guards
and said, "I have finished. You may take the prisoner away."
As the guards were leading the prisoner out of the
room, he suddenly broke loose from their control and ran
to Da Vinci, crying as he did so, "Oh, Da Vinci! Look at me!
Do you not know who I am?"
Da Vinci, with the trained eyes of a great character
student, carefully scrutinized the man upon whose face he
had gazed for six months, and replied, "No, I have never seen
you in my life until you were brought before me out of the
dungeon in Rome."
The prisoner, lifting his eyes toward heaven, said,
"Oh, God....have I fallen so low?" Then turning his eyes
back to Da Vinci, he cried, "Leonardo Da Vinci! Look at me
again! For I am the same man you painted just seven years
ago as the figure of Christ!"
This is the true story of the painting of the Last
Supper that teaches so strongly the lesson of the affects
of right or wrong thinking on the life of an individual.
Here was a young man whose character was so pure, unspoiled
by the sins of the world, that he presented a countenance of
innocence and beauty fit to be used for the painting of a
representation of Christ. But within seven years, following
the thoughts of sin and a life of crime, he was changed into
the perfect picture of the most traitorous character ever
known in the history of the world.
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