The Last Supper Revisited – Leather carving interpretation from Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece.
Da Vinci Last Supper leather carving
Four thought components inspired this religious icon.
1. The first was Da Vinci’s famous last supper painting, a late 15th-century mural painting by Leonardo da Vinci in the refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria Delle Grazie, Milan. It is one of the world’s most famous paintings.
2. The second involved creating it on leather and modernizing the approach to detail. According to many sources, Da Vinci used a renaissance Italian home scene setting and not the traditional Jewish setting of reclining on the floor.
3. The third was to research the text from Matthew 26:29 in the Bible. Jesus met with His disciples and the scene depicted their reactions to the conversation about who was going to betray Him.
4. The fourth was my personal search for answers and meaning to my inner confusion about death and the purpose of life. How did we get here? My search led me to drugs and many religious and philosophical reasonings to the God-man called Jesus, and I wanted to honor, as best I could, His story.
Researching Da Vinci’s Last Supper for the leather carving I realized that Leonardo’s much-viewed painting has captured a multitudes imagination. The reason for the disciples’ reaction is unknown to many. Today we are living out the outcome of this history-changing event.
Some of these men depicted by Leonardo recorded this event in their historic letters. I read their letters in the bible. Like them, I found Jesus disarmingly honest about my life, and like the disciples He mentored, I find a new excitement at what is unfolding in current world events. “The Last Supper” preceded the foreknown sacrifice of Jesus.
I also discovered that the Jesus Leonardo wanted to capture is due to return to this planet.
At this meal, around 2000 years ago, He made many things clear which affects us all today. Those men, like myself (once an arrogant stubborn man), found a lot of it hard to believe and take in. I persisted in my inquiry amidst my skepticism, the skepticism of friends and family, and generally of the world at large. Our skepticism reflected our ignorance, such as that found in the heartfelt mocking words. “Give me a break, Jesus reflects religion which is the root of all the world’s problems and wars”. I was wrong again.
As I researched, my stubbornness worked in my favor and one day the lights went on. The reason for His story has now become my story, and unashamed I will use whatever is in my hands to tell the world His “He is who He says He is”. Jesus never came into this world to start a religion, He never came to start wars, He never came to condemn us in our confusion. He came to set us free from our foolishness, to give us peace, purpose, joy, wisdom, and the knowledge that sets us free. This freedom and peace are available to us today, on earth, as in Heaven. It has always been so with God.
Those who discover this mystery live the “Good News”. So from me to you, be stubborn in seeking the answers and don’t give up until you find your own “Pearl of Great Price”.
It was a night of celebration preceding the foreseen great betrayal leading to the final defeat of darkness. Jesus taught that the betrayal would lead to His death, that death being a doorway to reintroduce heaven to the peace-starved hungry heart of mankind. This innocent man went to face His destiny at the hands of those who condemned and murdered him.
History of this carving
I created the original carving in 1977. I maintained “The Last Supper Revisited” in my collection until 2011 when I refurbished and framed it. Working the leather was a physically demanding challenge with attention to detail, constant carving, beveling, and dyeing. During production, my fingers were in a regular state of overuse distress. I think RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) had not been discovered before 1977. At least I had not heard of it.
The disciples’ reactions depicted by Da Vinci
The Last Supper specifically portrays the reaction of each Apostle (a sent/chosen messenger) when Jesus said one of them would betray Him. All twelve Apostles have different reactions to the news, with questions and various degrees of emotion.
From left to right: Bartholomew, James, son of Alphaeus and Andrew form a group of three. Leonardo depicted their surprise.
Judas Iscariot, Peter, and John form another group of three. Judas is looking rather bemused and taken aback by the sudden revelation of his plan. He is clutching a small bag, perhaps signifying the silver given to him as payment to betray Jesus, or perhaps a reference to his role among the 12 disciples as treasurer. He is the only person to have his elbow on the table. Peter looks angry, perhaps foreshadowing the inner confusion and conflict which led to his violent reaction in Gethsemane during Jesus’ arrest, and later to his fearful denial.
The youngest apostle, John, appears to swoon Jesus.
The Apostles Thomas, James the Greater (possibly the younger brother of Jesus) and Philip are the next group of three. Thomas looks upset; James looks stunned, with his arms in the air. Meanwhile, Philip appears to be requesting some explanation.
Matthew, Jude Thaddeus and Simon the Zealot are the last group of three. Jude Thaddeus and Matthew turned toward Simon. Perhaps he has an answer to their questions.
In a 19th-century discovery “The Notebook manuscript of Leonardo Da Vinci” revealed the Apostles names on page 232 revealed. Previously, Judas, Peter, John, and Jesus are the only ones positively identified.
In common with other depictions of “The Last Supper” from this period, Leonardo seats the diners on one side of the table, so that none of them has his back to the viewer. Most earlier depictions, excluded Judas, by placing him alone on the opposite side of the table from the others and Jesus or placing halos around all the disciples except Judas.
Leonardo instead has Judas lean back into shadow. Jesus is predicting that his betrayer will take bread at the same time He does. Thomas and James leaning on Jesus left, react in horror. Jesus points with His left hand to a piece of bread before them. Distracted by the conversation between John and Peter, Judas reaches for a different piece of bread. He did not notice Jesus too was stretching out with His right hand towards the same piece. (Matthew 26: 17-46).
One significant observation in the scene is that the 13 men were instrumental in fulfilling God’s promise for mankind. Jewish prophets foretold these years in advance. He, the anointed man, the Christ, would usher in God’s planned new covenant for mankind. The way was open for all nationalities to find their way back into God’s presence. God has always planned for mankind to know His peace, forgiveness, love, and mercy upon earth as it is in heaven.
Jesus was preparing these men to usher in the new age with Gods manifest presence. After thousands of years of separation mankind was hungry. The promise of His Spirit full of, love, joy, and peace are available for all who choose to believe and accept. This could only happen after Jesus had paid the last sacrifice, thereby satisfying the legal requirements of the death penalty for disobedience. The separation we all suffer because our original parents rejected their maker’s advice, opening the doorway to sin and darkness we see today.
The absence of love is the sin. Irrational fears do not motivate true love. The root causes of war and hatred are pride through unbelief. Pride embodies; lying, jealousy, envy, murder, arrogance, selfishness, greed, hatred, anger in etc.
Tragically, Judas played his part and went down in history as the arch-betrayer. Jesus is now in Heaven with the other 11 from this scene. Martyrdom claimed 10 lives. Confused and unbelieving Jesus haters wanted to stop the story of Jesus spreading. Another died a natural death after writing the Book of Revelation as an exile. Jesus instigated the book of Revelation (Revealed truth) delivering via an Angel to John on the Island of Patmos.
These men fulfilled their missions. His seeds are sown. They grow today, harvested in the hearts of multitudes across all nations. No political, cultural or religious boundary will stop the penetration of Heaven’s mission on earth. God fulfills His promise “Out of many nations He will make one nation for His glory” and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.
Even though this scene of Leonardo’s is culturally inaccurate to the original Jewish setting and fashion, the “Domain of Meaning” is the same. Jesus was preparing, mentoring, His first disciples so they could understand, see and practice how God was planning to win back the heart of man, ending our separation. A new covenant for all humanity was in the offing. Orchestrated by the Holy Spirit miracles and stories are repeated daily. No nation is immune. This happens in the hearts of all those who choose to take Him at His word and believe. His Kingdom coming to the earth as it is in Heaven.
I have added to the Da Vinci Last Supper leather carving the religious symbol of Jesus holding a lamb. The reason is that of the well-known Shepherd symbol of Jesus caring for His sheep. In this sense, it has the timeless supernatural dimension of Him overlooking and caring for those who love Him. A reciprocal affection, which when experienced personally brings peace.
Jesus spoke in parables/allegories around the culture and lifestyle of his day for those who were hungry for truth. The hunger for truth comes from dissatisfaction with the temporal world we experience. Genuine seekers received what Jesus promised. We experience in our mortal bodies Gods Spirit made alive when we choose to believe. Known as our second birth we call it “Born Again”. The internal joy of individuals often gets expressed in unusual ways. Depending on the personality of the receiver, misunderstanding is common and offends many. This is repeated in every generation.
Reason for naming it “The Last Supper”
Leonardo named his painting “The Last Supper”. It was Jesus last meal with friends before betrayal by Judas who misunderstood Jesus purpose on earth. Gods ways offended the reasons for darkness. The disciples did not understand. Satan, the supernatural spirit being, filled Judas heart to betray Jesus. After the meal He was, arrested, falsely accused and hung on a cross.
The necessity and wisdom of Jesus reason for dying
His way of death satisfied the legal demands of Kingdom Law, as God decreed. Someone good enough had to pay the price. Our foolishness created consequences that demanded reconciliation to wisdom and love, God himself. A relationship with the love and affections of God our Heavenly Father brings true peace. A long story which you read about in the Constitution of Heaven named the Bible. After this meal, Jesus suffered immense grief. He was falsely accused and shamed before His accusers.
After flogging Him, they hung Him, naked, on a Roman instrument of torture, the cross. Romes governing authority created the cross punishment to put fear into the heart of the nation as a control over rebellious citizens. The message was “Don’t mess with our rule”! As an enemy of the state sedition was particularly frowned upon.
Within 3 days of Jesus death, the tables had turned when His Father in Heaven raised Him from the dead. It is still hugely disputed today, except by those who have taken Him at His word and discovered the spirit world where Jesus lives. Accepting His sacrifice (beyond the natural man’s comprehension) they have discovered He is who He says He is and He has revolutionized their lives because they have become aware of another more real dimension to life … The Supernatural, which is everlasting. This is why it is called the “Good News”.
Heaven and religion
Are you aware Jesus never came to create another religion called Christianity to replace all other religions? He came to bring the Kingdom of Heaven back to earth in all its reality (love, joy, peace, wisdom, health, power over darkness). Religious people hated Him for telling the truth. Their hearts were feeding on lies, murder, envy, pride, prejudice, fear, self-righteousness, slander, gossip, unforgiveness and even adultery. Bigoted religious mindsets hate being exposed. A wrong notion of Heaven’s Kingdom on Earth was threatened.
Jesus is coming back one day, whether we believe it or not. His leadership will motivate us to clean up the mess we made and for those who love Him, it is going to be a glorious day. This will not happen before some terrible, terrible troubles happen on this earth as prophesied. Brought about as an outworking of our joint foolishness the events are called “The day of troubles”.
A bit more on the supernatural
Stories, names, and vocations of the disciples are easily researched on the Internet. My discoveries found many conflicting religious arguments all vying for recognition. I decided the religious arguments and historical facts are not as important as what Jesus and His disciples said and did.
Therefore acting on what they said by choosing to believe is the elixir of why “The Last Supper” took place at all. Jesus came with a purpose and fulfilled His mission which His enemies, yesterday and today, could not see. His death and resurrection are not normal to the natural world. They served a purpose to show God is greater than our darkness. God reveals His mystery to anyone who genuinely seeks. Death lost its fear and sting to all who have had their eyes opened to the supernatural.
I discovered “The Last Supper” had a huge and significant impact on these men. In every nation, whether we agree with it or not, Jesus has had more influence than any other man.
Reproductions exhibit well in homes and offices from Dubai, London, New York, Paris or Sydney. Not only a beautiful work of leather art but the parables written within is a heartfelt inspiration to meditate upon as a guideline for wonderful contemplation in your heart.
Through the ages, God has given us an amazing plan for the redemption story in Jesus. Any artist who has heard the story wants to capture some of its essences in their work. I am no different. My exhortation is, “Don’t get so busy building your empire and forget to appreciate the beauty and wonder of His story. Seek Him for peace of mind. Jesus is interested in you”.
STATUS and MATERIALS
ORIGINAL FOR SALE – * Reproductions are available
Leather dyes and acrylics on hand-carved cow leather, treated with coachaline and leather varnishes for protection. Coachaline is our preferred treatment to retain the moisture content in the leather and it keeps the leather looking fresh. The carving is mounted on special feature large New Zealand particle board.
* Originals and Limited Edition reproductions supplied with Provenance, coded Authentication of Sale Certificate and maintenance/care information.
25 LIMITED EDITIONS “ACRYLIC ENHANCED” CANVAS REPRODUCTIONS
Please ask about frames, sizes, and price.
75 LIMITED EDITIONS CANVAS REPRODUCTIONS *
Unframed sizes | 960 x short side – $1150 | 650 x short side – $925
Printed on long life archival canvas and protected with two coats of UV archival protection spray.
* Stretch mounted reproductions will incur added charges for mounting and freight.
OPEN EDITION POSTER ART PRINTS *
Unframed sizes | 594 x short side – $145 | 420 x short side – $95
* Posters printed on fine art papers and treated with two coats of UV archival protection spray.
FASHION and PRODUCTS
- Includes insurance and package/handling fees.
- The Original and Limited Edition reproductions ship with the Provenance coded Authentication of Sale Certificate and maintenance information.
- Poster art prints ship in insured tubes.
Certificate of Excellence, Artivita International Online Art Competition, 2014, USA