- Arts and Design»
The Last Supper : Learn composition from Leonardo Davinci
The Last Supper by Leonardo - My Take
It's useful for all visual artists to study old masters. Here, I tell you what I learnt from Leonardo's Last Supper. Not given to wild, wacky theories of conspiracy, I will just confine my comments to the area of art. And try to understand the master painter's composition.
(If you want to watch a video instead of reading this hub, it's there above. But I warn you, my voice is horrible!)
Please click on the images at the right to view them big enough. Here goes:
1. The Position of Jesus
Jesus is placed right at the centre of the picture. Naturally your eye will fall on the central figure. He is also framed by the window to form a separate portrait within the painting. He is clearly separated from the apostles by grouping them in threes, while He is self-contained.
2. Chaos and Order
Utter confusion results when He says, "One of you shall betray me." Now, the painter has to show the confusion while maintaining order in the composition. What did Leonardo do? Each disciple has a dynamic pose, an attitude of inbalance, but each is a part of a group of three in tight composition. See for yourself.
Another secret that I noticed, that I haven't heard anyone mention, is the zooming in to Christ. It's like one of those photos you see where the zoom causes everything to be blurred, but the central figure. The lines of the beams in the ceiling, the lines of the murals on the walls, all zoom to Christ. Everything else is dynamic, while the Christ is peacefully still.
3. The Triangle of Christ
A triangle gives a subliminal effect of stability. It's like a pyramid or a cone. Here, Jesus forms a triangle, while the disciples form high-tension shapes.
4. What, No Halo?
Why didn't Leonardo draw a halo around Jesus? He did even better. He made it look realistic; there's nothing unreal in this picture. He placed the sun behind Christ's head.
Also, the vanishing point of the perspective lines in this picture is also behind Christ's head. Wherever your glance falls in the pictuire, it will be directed to Him. The perspective lines, some of the arrow like hands, glances of the others, all direct you to Him. Some spiritual message there? God knows.