The Search for the Last Supper
When it was first revealed in 1499, Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper shocked the public and revolutionized Western art.
But today, it is damaged beyond repair. Just 20% of the original painting is still visible. We can no longer see why the fresco had such an impact. Or can we?
This question is the starting point of a new Pantheon film, based on the provocative book by art historian Jean-Pierre Isbouts, a National Geographic author and humanities professor, and his co-author, Dr. Christopher H. Brown of Brown Discoveries in North Carolina. The book, entitled Young Leonardo and published by St. Martin’s Press (2017), takes the reader on a hunt across Europe for what could be a true, life-size canvas copy of the fresco, painted just five years after the original was completed.
In the book, the authors argue that this copy, if it still exists, would have been executed by Leonardo and his workshop for none other than the King of France, Louis XII. As it happened, Louis XII had invaded the Duchy of Milan in 1499, just as Leonardo was putting the finishing touches on the painting.
The Search for the Last Supper is an exciting, thriller-like hunt to see if this amazing copy can be found. Three years in the making, the film is directed by Isbouts and features not only dramatizations starring the Italian artist Alessandro Demcenko as Leonardo da Vinci, but also a number of prominent specialists including Luke Syson (now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art), Larry Keith (National Gallery, London), Vincent Delieuvin (Louvre, Paris), Maya Corry (Oxford University) and British author Ross King, as well as Eugenio Zanetti, the Academy-Award winning artist and director of Restoration and What Dreams May Come.
Among others, the film’s producers have developed a detailed restoration of what the fresco in a Milanese refectory, the Cenacolo, would have looked like in 1499, as well as its condition today. Derived from a great array of contemporary sources as well as the modern literature, the reconstruction was produced by a team led by Richard Yarlett of iRay3D.
The film is slated for release in late 2017.