Italian version


 

L'ULTIMA CENA

Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper"
Twenty years of opposition to restoration of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper
by one of the greatest exponents of contemporary art

MARIO DONIZETTI: WHY I HAVE DISPUTED AND CONTINUE TO DISPUTE THE INTERVENTION FOR CLEANING
 AND FILLING IN THE GAPS IN LEONARDO'S MASTERPIECE, "THE LAST SUPPER".

 

After Today's Restoration of the "Cena",
the True Leonardo or Leonardo and his Pupils?

the art magazine: "Costume", 1982


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cristo-as.jpg (5468 byte)

The head of Jesus before the current restoration.
The anatomy is perfect.
Leonardo's greatness can still be fully perceived notwithstanding the degradation of the pictorial layers.
The skull of Jesus is outlined by hair which respects the aerial prospective. The light of the window painted in the background lights up the profile of the hair and the background insinuates itself between the locks of hair.
The facial expression is highly significant and noble.
During the restoration carried out in 1947, Mauro Pelliccioli, who was a good drawer and painter and knew when to keep his hand still, had only worked on "The Last Supper" by using a scalpel to remove the obviously false colour and had decided not to touch any part of the head of Jesus. Giuseppe Arrigoni – pupil and collaborator of Pelliccioli - testifies to this, and remembers that this decision was appreciated and upheld even by Roberto Longhi.

 


 

cristo-bs.jpg (4971 byte) The head of Jesus after the current restoration.
The anatomy of Jesus' head has been changed. The "cleaning" job has made extremely important details disappear. These were put in by Leonardo using "glazing" (with "bright colours") over the first layer of "dull colours" which, as per tradition, was done by the pupils. The "cleaning", carried out by the current restorers using solvents, has therefore brought the head of Jesus back out as it was in the first draft, which a genius such as Leonardo would never have "left" as his own.
Leonardo had modified the first draft with his own hand, putting light into the hair around the profile of the skull. This light rounded off the head. The dark "re-integration" of the gaps, which has replaced the light in that area, now notably modifies the anatomy of the skull. To "re-integrate the gaps", the figure needs to be interpreted. On Jesus, the interpretation of Leonardo's shape has been made according to the anatomical, technical and spiritual knowledge of the restorers. Re-integration of the missing parts of this masterpiece is an operation which even Leonardo could never have carried out.
For an artist, it is one thing to draw a line to outline a part of the anatomy and quite another to carry out "puntinatura" on the missing parts of an existing line.

 


Mario Donizetti all rights reserved