• Daniel Tills in Milan

'Archeologia del Cenacolo' at Castello Sforzesco, Milan

Updated: Mar 20

If you are travelling to Milan this summer (or indeed a resident!), I would wholeheartedly recommend a visit to the Castello Sforzesco - conveniently located in the centre of Milan - to visit the wonderful exhibition about Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece: The Last Supper

Poster for 'Archaologia del Cenacolo' - an exhibition in Milan about The Last Supper painting by Leonardo da Vinci

Even if you think you have seen it all before, the magnificent Sforza Castle bears repeat visits as it has an always-changing program of temporary art exhibitions and permanent displays. In the absence of their usual showpiece da Vinci exhibit (the incredible 'Salle della Asse' - an entire room of the castle painted with da Vinci murals which is currently undergoing a major restoration work and is therefore closed to the public) this temporary exhibit eases the loss...

What better place to see an exhibition concerning the great master himself than a place where he was actually employed by the Duke of Milan for many years? Having moved from Florence to Milan in 1482, Leonardo came under the patronage of the hugely wealthy and powerful Ludovico Sforza and was commissioned to produce not only works of art, but wonders of engineering and warfare for the benefit and protection of the city state.

In 1495 da Vinci began work on his 'Last Supper' mural on the walls of the refectory at Santa Maria delle Grazie church (located on Corso Magenta, Milan). This enormous wall painting can still be seen in person today, but be warned, it is in a terribly deteriorated state and you must book far in advance to stand a chance of getting 'an audience' with the piece (a strictly timed 15 minutes by the way).

What I love about the exhibition at Castello Sforzesco is that you get to see what Leonardo's masterpiece would have looked like in it's prime, thanks to the inclusion of many smaller-scale copies made by da Vinci's contemporaries. These copies, mostly in oil on panel give a very accurate representation of the vibrant colours which would have been used by da Vinci and also show parts of the original painting long since lost - mostly due to a doorway being cut through the wall on which it was painted! Horrors!

Other exhibits include drawings, etchings, books about Il Cenacolo / L'Ultima Cena (The Last Supper)

Del Canacolo di Leonardo da Vinci - Giuseppe Bossi

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