First sketch for the Last Supper

First sketch for the Last Supper c1495

This drawing is likely to be one of the first sketches executed by Leonardo in preparation for the Last Supper.

The upper compositional sketch is a preliminary idea or primo pensiero drawing of the right hand side of the table, with about ten of the Apostles included. In front of the table, to the right of Christ, Judas can be seen leaning forward. Behind and above, a row of arcades has been sketched in freehand.

Further to the right and lower down on the sheet, Leonardo has reconsidered the central motif of the figure of Christ and his relationship with the figure of Judas, who is now seen rising from his seat to take bread from the table. To either side of Christ, Leonardo has considered the expressive poses of the young St. John, who is seen sprawled on the table to Christ’s right, and St. Peter who raises his hands in astonishment at Judas’ action.

  • Medium Pen and ink
  • Size 26 x 21 cm
  • Location The Royal Collection

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