"It must mean something."
With respect, this thought can have the unintended consequence of giving impetus to find and apply a meaning that Leonardo himself never intended. ..... the brain excludes consideration of what the eye is seeing because of what it wants or expects to see.
To "make" the " V " become something beyond a simple interval of space between Jesus and the youthful disciple to his right - is to run the very real risk of exercising the principle of "seeing what the mind wants to believe".
On the other hand, experts agree that there was
a lot of symbolism in Renaissance art. If we do not look for it, how will we find it?
I had a look at some other 'Last Suppers'.
In the following, 'John' is in the lap of Jesus:http://www.irfwp.org/content/archives/lastsupper.jpg
~ 'John ' is in his lap.
Bassano, Jacopo 'The Last Supper' 1542 ~'John ' is in his lap.http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/bassano/last-supper/
Last Supper — Domenico Ghirlandaio, 1480http://www2.creighton.edu/ipf/ipfprograms/formingtheformators/thesaintlyintellect/
This one, like Leonardo's has the 'V-shaped gap.
Philippe de Champaigne. The Last Supper. 1654. ~ Does have the 'V'http://romanchristendom.blogspot.com/2008/03/maundy-thursday-new-commandment-i-give.html
Doesn't Leonardo want us to wonder why he put such a large gap between Jesus and the beloved disciple, rather than having him in his lap?