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The Last Supper

fresco by Leonardo da Vinci at the age of 43

made out of oil paint

currently at Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy, Europe

1495

Leonardo da Vinci begins work on The Last Supper in the refectory of the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan.

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1497

June 29

on Tuesday

2 years, 6 months later

From a sheet of instructions that Lodovico Sforza gave to his secretary:

Item, to urge Leonardo the Florentine to finish the work that he has begun at the refectory of the Grazie, so that he may start with the other wall in the same refectory; and have him sign a contract obliging him to finish the work within the stipulated time.

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The moon was a new moon that night.

1498

February 9

on Wednesday

7 months, 15 days later

Leonardo da Vinci completes The Last Supper.

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The moon was waning gibbous that night.

1517

18 years, 11 months later

Decay starts to become visible in The Last Supper.

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1556

39 years, 9 days later

Vasari notes The Last Supper has become a mass of blots.

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1652

96 years, 24 days later

The doorway in the refectory is enlarged through The Last Supper.

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1726

74 years, 18 days later

Michelangelo Bellotti attempts the first restoration of The Last Supper, filling in missing sections with oil paint and then varnishing the whole mural.

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1768

42 years, 10 days later

A curtain is hung over The Last Supper for the purpose of protection; it instead traps moisture on the surface, and whenever the curtain is pulled back, it scratches the flaking paint.

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1770

2 years, 1 day later

Giuseppe Mazza attempts another restoration of The Last Supper, stripping off Bellotti's work then largely repainting it; he redoes all but three faces when he is halted due to public outrage.

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1796

26 years, 6 days later

The French revolutionary anti-clerical troops use the refectory containing The Last Supper as an armory; they throw stones at the painting and climb ladders to scratch out the Apostles' eyes.

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1821

25 years, 6 days later

Stefano Barezzi, an expert in removing whole frescoes from their walls intact, is called in to remove The Last Supper to a safer location; he badly damages the centre section before realizing that Leonardo's work is not a fresco. He then attempts to reattach damaged sections with glue.

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1943

122 years, 29 days later

Bombs from Allied Forces destroy most of the refectory containing The Last Supper.

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