tudor queens series debuts of the month
Search our site
Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner Read the opening extract of the brand new Susie Steiner book before its publication on 05/04/2018

Leonardo and the Last Supper by Ross King

Leonardo and the Last Supper

Biography / Autobiography   eBook Favourites   

Lovereading view...

Sue Baker's view...

An examination of Leonardo da Vinci’s flawed masterpiece, The Last Supper. It took three years to paint – and began to deteriorate almost immediately and like his Battle of Anghieri, we have other artists to thank for a contemporary view of these paintings as they made copies which have survived. So, why did it go wrong, why did it take so long, how was the painting composed and who were the models? Besides giving an outline of Leonardo’s life, Ross King attempts to answer these questions providing the general reader with a very good history of this unique fresco painting.

Like for Like Reading
Leonardo da Vinci: Flights of the Mind, Charles Nicholl
Leonardo on Paining: Anthology of Writings by Leonardo da Vinci with a Selection of Documents relating to his career as an Artist, Martin Kemp


Leonardo and the Last Supper by Ross King

Milan, 1496 and forty-four-year-old Leonardo da Vinci has a reputation for taking on commissions and failing to complete them. He is in a state of professional uncertainty and financial difficulty. For eighteen months he has been painting murals in both the Sforza Castle in Milan and the refectory of the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. The latter project will become the Last Supper, a complex mural that took a full three years to complete on a surface fifteen feet high by twenty feet wide. Not only had he never attempted a painting of such size, but he had no experience whatsoever in painting in the physically demanding medium of fresco. For more than five centuries the Last Supper has been an artistic, religious and cultural icon. The art historian Kenneth Clark has called it 'the keystone of European art', and for a century after its creation it was regarded as nothing less than a miraculous image. Even today, according to Clark, we regard the painting as 'more a work of nature than a work of man'. And yet there is a very human story behind this artistic 'miracle', which was created against the backdrop of momentous events both in Milan and in the life of Leonardo himself. In Leonardo and the Last Supper, Ross King tells the complete story of this creation of this mural: the adversities suffered by the artist during its execution; the experimental techniques he employed; the models for Christ and the Apostles that he used; and the numerous personalities involved - everyone from the Leonardo's young assistants to Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan who commissioned the work. Ross King's new book is both a record of Leonardo da Vinci's last five years in Milan and a 'biography' of one of the most famous works of art ever painted.

About the Author

Ross King is the highly praised author of Brunelleschi's Dome, Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling, The Judgment of Paris, Machiavelli: Philosopher of Power, and two novels, Ex Libris and Domino. He lives just outside Oxford.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading similar books...
Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

30th November 1999


Ross King

More books by Ross King
Author 'Like for Like'





Biography / Autobiography
eBook Favourites



Love Reading - it not only does what it says on the tin, it does it with Jam on!!

Maz Tucker

For me, to read is to learn, to reflect, to escape, to think, to contemplate and my time for space and calm.

Sally Ellsmore

It is a website dedicated to those who adore reading It really is a one stop shop for book lovers. Love it!

Edel Waugh

Thanks to Lovereading I have discovered new writers and read books I would never had looked twice at - and enjoyed them.

Angela Rhodes

The best new books on the market, reviewed honestly, to give your readers the best choices.

Julie Cook

I love Lovereading because I get to read great books and then get to tell everybody how good they are.

Sally Doel

If you LOVE reading then you will love LOVEREADING! It's a 'novel' idea. Seriously though I could not recommend them enough.

Rebecca Whymark

Lovereading is a world of books. It has everything you need from new to old and much loved classic books. It even give you recommendations!

Kate Thurston