Several years ago I was traveling in Italy. Spending a couple of days in Milan, I went on an afternoon excursion to find Leonardo DaVinci’s famous painting, “The Last Supper”. It’s not in a museum. It’s painted on the wall of the dining room (refectory) in a church’s convent in a residential neighborhood of the city. Since Dan Brown’s book, “The DaVinci Code” came out, it’s been a mecca for tourists, but I was there prior to the book and, for a quiet afternoon, had this very famous painting to myself.
DaVinci painted it in the late 1400s with tempera paint on the plaster of the dining room wall. It’s larger than life, or so it seems, filling one wall of a large room. It’s painted fairly high up on the wall, so I stood and admired it above my head. I actually stood just below the tablecloth in the painting…literally at the feet of Jesus, if they were there.
They’re not. At sometime in history, church members decided they needed a new doorway into the refectory. So they cut one in, through the plaster and through the old, mostly ignored and forgotten painting on the dining room wall. They cut an arched doorway right through it, and removed the area of the painting where Jesus’ feet had been painted by Leonardo.
Of course, now it’s a great tragedy that part of the painting is missing. You can see the feet of disciples, just below the tablecloth. You have to imagine the feet of Jesus. Today, when you see a photo of the painting, which was lovingly cleaned and restored in 2000, you see the top of a doorway arch toward the bottom. Picture yourself standing there beneath the table, and imagine yourself at the feet of our Savior. It’s a humbling place to stand.
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