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#38 The Accidental Masterpiece, Leonardo and the Painting of "The Last Supper"

Updated: May 9, 2022

A Conversation with Ross King

Saturday, February 19th 2022

The recording of this session is available for $10.

The image of Leonardo’s The Last Supper, located in refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, is as familiar to us as the boot shape of Italy on a map. However, the history of how this famous mural came to be painted, precisely how Leonardo painted it, and who he painted it for are much less well-known. Ross King, bestselling author of books on Italian, French, and Canadian art and history, will discuss how Leonardo received the commission from Lodovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan, and how he went about creating his masterpiece through an experimental new style. While the mural is burdened with many myths – most of which have no basis in fact – the true story of its execution is even more remarkable and interesting.

Ross King’s books includeThe Bookseller of Florence, Brunelleschi’s Dome, Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling, The Judgment of Paris, Leonardo and The Last Supper, and Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies. He has also published two novels (Domino and Ex-Libris), a biography of Niccolò Machiavelli, and a collection of Leonardo da Vinci’s fables, jokes, and riddles. He is currently working on a “short” history of Italy. Among many other honors, Ross King serves on the Council of Academic Advisors for Friends of Florence, and lectures widely on a range of art subjects. He lives with his wife Melanie in Oxfordshire, England.

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