The Last Supper is a unique painting. One of the reasons it is so different is that the canvas it is painted on is much wider than it is tall. By looking at the painting you can see that da Vinci is painting a gathering of people with the one in the middle of the table receiving most of the attention. The painting is most likely done on a canvas with simple oil paints. One feature a viewer might notice is Leonardo’s use of rectangles. Whether this is intentional or serves any purpose is unclear, but other than the humans in the scene everything is a rectangular shape.
The work is organized with all of the focus of the viewer falling on the meal, or even more specifically on the man in the middle. da Vinci draws us to this man because he has placed three windows as a source of light in the background. The windows are directly behind him, drawing our attention to the contrast between the two. The viewer may also notice that all of the characters around the focal point lean slightly in one direction or another, while the character we are intended to focus on remains erect.
The artist is conveying the message that something has shocked the men around this, one. One can assume that it may be surprising news or something to that extent. However, since this is a well-known painting there are not many that don’t know what it is actually about. The painting of “The Last Supper” is Leonardo da Vinci’s portrayal of Jesus’ last meal with his disciples. That night Jesus would tell the disciples that later one of them would betray him. Jesus’ honesty and forwardness shocked the disciples, and in turn they all began to question themselves. In da Vinci’s masterpiece one can see that perhaps Jesus has just delivered this message and that the disciples are taken aback by his accusation.
In my opinion this painting lives up to its hype. The artistry is pure genius. Leonardo da Vinci makes the viewer see exactly what he wants them to see. The focus is all on Jesus, but if you take the time to look at each disciple you can almost feel what they are feeling. The crowd at the table appears much like a lunchroom rumor fluttering about a high school cafeteria. The way Jesus lays his hands on the table is symbolic. His palms turned upwards toward the heavens with his arms fully extended, yet dropped heavily onto the table. Jesus is offering himself up, da Vinci captures the moment perfectly.