This is one of two large-scale early copies on canvas of Leonardo’s Last Supper, which is almost the width of the original fresco.
Nothing is known of its origin, patron, date of execution or intended location. It was first mentioned as in the Certosa di Pavia in 1626 by the author Bartolomeo Sanese, but it is unlikely that it was intended for this location. At some point, the upper third of the picture was cut away, and this may have happened before it was placed in the Certosa di Pavia.
In 1821, the Royal Academy in London purchased it for
600 guineas as a work by Marco d’Oggiono but the current attribution to
Giampetrino (Giovanni Pietro Rizzoli), who was a talented assistant of
Leonardo’s in Milan, is now generally accepted.
It is possible that Giampietrino may have assisted Leonardo in painting the original Last Supper in the Refectory of Santa Maria delle Grazie. His copy may provide a record of some of the details now lost in the original fresco, such as the salt-cellar overturned by Judas’s right arm, the transparent glass decanters on the table, and the floral motifs of the tapestries that decorate the room’s interior.