On 26, gen 2015 | | In outside Florence
I have recently come back from a short (unfortunately too short) trip to Milan, where I visited the refectory painted by Leonardo da Vinci.
Few steps away from the city centre there’s the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie: a church with its brick covered walls, with a wide façade and with a magnificent apse designed by Donato Bramate, a very famous architect from Umbria who died 500 years ago.
Beside the church front there’s the entrance to the refectory: it used to be the dining room once used by the Dominican friars and it’s worldly known because of the Last Supper that Leonardo da Vinci painted on one of the shorter walls between 1493 and 1498.
I’m not here to exalt this artistic masterpiece or to describe its details; I will just tell you that I found myself in front of one of the most beautiful works of art that I have ever seen in my whole life. I only regret the very poor condition of conservation of this work and I’m scared about the possibility of losing such a wonder. I can’t help imagining its original beauty, when its colours were bright and shiny.
I found amazing observing the intense and different expressions of the apostles listening to Jesus’ words about being betrayed by one of them: their bewilderment, incredulity, extraneousness and anger. Peter gently but willingly diverts John from Jesus in order to be able to listen to those words he can’t believe in. While with the other hand, leant on his side, he ties a knife taken from the table, with the same violence that he will show in the Jetsemani.
To approach that table and to observe the details surviving from the weak technique, from the time and from the war; to appreciate the sense of depth and those figures coming out from the wall: this is an incredible adventure, unfortunately lasting 15 minutes only. The real sense of the visit? To go out and to wish to be immediately back.
I live in the land where Leonardo was born and where he was raised as a man and as an artist; and I’m very proud of it. Nevertheless Florence is hundreds km away from Milan and it’s hard to me to visit the refectory again within a short time; so I’ll try to keep the memory of this extraordinary experience. Moreover I have decided to deep my knowledge of the many decorated refectories of Florence, those places that Leonardo knew for sure and where he took inspiration from; to carefully observe the details of the objects on the painted tables. In order to show how the past is still modern I would like to start a itinerary to meet those Florentine artisans who nowadays are still involved in the making of those stuffs that you can find on a table