The Last Supper was painted on the wall of the dining room, otherwise known as a refectory, of the Dominican convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, located in Milan. It was commissioned by the Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza.
Most of the composition is taken up by a long horizontal table seating Christ at the center with his twelve apostles to his left and right. There is a window directly behind Christ, highlighting his figure and importance.
On Jesus’ left is James, whose arms are wide open, illustrating a stunned reaction. Next to him is Thomas, whose only point of identification is his raised index finger. Lastly, we see Philip with a questioning expression.
Da Vinci wanted to use colors that would stand out compared to fresco colors, so he combined various media like oil paints and tempera. The texture of the painting has been described as “grainy and fragmented”.
Two important copies come from the Italian painters Giampietrino (c. 1520) and Cesare da Sesto (c. 1520). Both artists were believed to have been in da Vinci’s life and circle, possibly as his assistants.