THE LAST SUPPER
The Dominican convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie houses one of the most important masterpieces in the world: the “Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci.
This fresco has been painted from the 1494 and the 1498, during the dukedom of Ludovico Il Moro. Leonardo substituted the usual method of the fresco with a new technique called “a secco” (on a dry wall) to paint the Last Supper on the wall of the convent’s refectory.
However, upon the completation, due to this new techique and to the environment factors the fresco gradually declined and because of that the work underwent several restorations during the years. The last intervention has been done in 1999 and many scientific methods have been employed to carry over the original colors and, if possible, to remove the traces of previous attemps to restore the fresco.
Leonardo’s Last Supper is outside the Church on the right in the Square. It does not belong to the church, but it is a National Museum.
Santa Maria delle Grazie, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an exceptional testament to Renaissance architecture in Milan, is a fundamental monument for visitors who wish to fully appreciate the historical splendours of Milano.
The Renaissance was a historical period of great magnificence for the Ambrosian metropolis that, under the Visconti and Sforza governments, was testimony to an explosion of art and culture that had no equal. In particular, the court of Ludovico il Moro and Beatrice d’Este had the reputation of being the richest and most beautiful in Italy.
The church of Santa Maria delle Grazie was founded in 1463. The works on the church’s construction, and the adjacent Dominican convent, began in 1463; they were designed and overseen by Guiniforte Solari up until 1481.
In the oldest Gothic-style part of the church the frescoes with “Santi e beati Domenicani” (Saints and blessed Dominicans) by Montorfano and Butinone can be found. The interior of the dome is adorned with engravings and the exterior, enclosed in the lantern, has a geometric embellishment in brick and plaster.
In 1943, bombing destroyed the great cloister of the monastery but fortuitously spared the three walls of the refectory, including the one with Leonardo’s Last Supper, and the chiostrino.
After the last restoration extensive measures have been inserted to protect the fresco. To keep the Last Supper painting at the room temperature, a maximum of 25 people can enter the refectory every 15 minutes.
WHERE TO GET THE TICKET
To see the Last Supper, the official ticket site is cenacolo.it. Tickets can be purchased three months in advance. It may seem that there are very few dates available from this calendar. This is common, it means the tickets have most likely been purchased by tour groups that include them in their package tours.
Here are a few reputable tour operators selling tickets individually or as part of a Milan tour:
Official website : https://legraziemilano.it/
Youtube account : https://www.youtube.com/c/SantaMariadelleGrazieMilano
Source : http://www.turismo.milano.it/