Originally Posted By: PDM, Post #348291
I was simply making a comment ~ that whatever Leonardo did or didn't think about 'The Last Supper', he was painting a long time after the supposed event and his opinions on the subject may not mean anything, anyway.

Understood - just wanted to be sure the reference to Leonardo's notes regarding the "The Last Supper" had not been misunderstood because of how the question was phrased smile

This entry will be attempting to bring some degree of personal closure to what has been presented in defense of the topic that the "beloved disciple" was not Mary Magdalene. New responsibilities - plus the fact that this writer wishes to resume work on the last entry under the discussion topic, "Leonardo's Painting - A Fatal Flaw?" (URL at the end of this post) which continues at a tedious pace due to the complexity of the material to be considered regarding the day and time of Jesus' execution - will impose even greater restrictions on this writer's available time.

Moving forward...

Continuing to trade quotations of either praise or criticism of the outcome of the restoration of Leonardo's "The Last Supper" could, this writer suspects, continue back and forth 'ad infinitum '. Truly, do we need better examples of "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" than all of these opposing comentaries represent ??

Before going further, it seems appropriate regardless of one's stand on the matter to acknowledge the twenty year dedication to the project by Pinin Brambilla Barcilon. Regardless of how her work and the solutions to problems encountered were administered and are now viewed (whether as accomplishing the task successfully or as contributing to further ruination of Leonardo's masterpiece), twenty years is a lot of time to give up out of one's life in devotion to any project. A picture of her at work follows:

... http://i380.photobucket.com/albums/oo246/Grrr82CU/RestorerAtWork.jpg ....

In response to the question asked:

Originally Posted By: PDM, Post ##348291
"Do you think that the copies, the remains of Leonardo's cleaned original, and the restored version of 'the beloved disciple' are very different from each other?"

This writer respectfully suggests - ultimately - it doesn't matter.

After all the speculation, visual comparisons, quotations, opinions, etc., have been heard, seen, and debated - the only thing that really matters is how Leonardo himself described the gender of the figure at Jesus' right hand that he was intending to paint.

Whether or not Leonardo's understanding encompassed the entirety of the NT account regarding the timetable and events associated with Jesus and his apostles' "The Last Supper" is basically irrelevant. What he apparently did understand was both the moment described in the NT that became the subject of his painting and the interaction among those present which became what we might describe today as "sub-plots", subtly embedded in the overall painting, all of which are portrayed in various stages of concurrent and animated activity.

This forum presumes to discuss one related point of interest in relation to "The da Vinci Code". It is one of several entries dedicated to the discussion of whether or not the figure to Jesus' right (around which so much controversy swirls) is male or female pursuant to the focus upon that matter Dan Brown brings out through his characters and throughout his novel.

As has been seen thus far, the two major "camps" regarding "The da Vinci Code" are more or less divided between advocates who believe Mary Magdalene is the "disciple Jesus loved" versus those who believe the disciple as so described should be identified as the youthful Apostle John.

So, can we determine if Leonardo intended to paint the figure as a "female" or as a "male"?

Can we know, either way, to any degree of certainty?

Let us see...

If it can be proven that Leonardo himself indicates the gender of the figure to Jesus' right - that should settle once and for all the raging speculations found across a broad spectrum as to how he painted it with regard to its gender characteristics. After all, who is going to argue with the master composer of the painting?

First - an overview of the material specific to answering the question - "What gender did Leonardo intend for the figure to exhibit - male of female?

Leonardo da Vinci's Notebooks are arranged in two volumes, each with a series of “chapter” headings which contain Leonardo’s notes, drawings, etc., regarding specific topics.

The Chapter headings are:
  1. A General Introduction containing Leonardo’s intention to publish his MSS, a general introduction to painting
  2. Linear Perspective
  3. Six sub-books on Light and Shade
  4. Perspective of Disappearance
  5. Theory of Colours
  6. Perspective of Colour and Aerial Perspective
  7. On the Proportions and on the Movements of The Human Figure
  8. Botany for Painters and elements of Landscape Painting
  9. The Practice of Painting
  10. Studies and Sketches for Pictures and Decorations (which contains among the nine sub-headings “Notes on the Last Supper”
In Chapter 10, under the sub-heading of "Notes on the Last Supper", Leonardo states:

Originally Posted By: Lenardo da Vinci writing "Notes on the Last Supper" (665 668) in his own hand

.[9] "Another speaks into his neighbour's ear and he, as he listens to
him, turns towards him to lend an ear"

Obviously the first gender-specific reference to "his..ear" refers to the disciple "whom Jesus loved" as described by the NT account cited elsewhere.

The remaining gender-specific references to "he" all refer to the same individual and the actions "he" was taking in inclining towards the speaker, Peter.

So what do we now know? First that the gender of the disciple/apostle to Jesus' right is no longer in question. Leonardo is very clear on that point. Secondly, because of how he describes what the figure in his painting will be doing, those actions can only be matched to the NT description of "the one Jesus loved" inclining his head and ear towards Peter found at Jn 13:32,33,34.

Also, whether or not Leonardo painted the face of the disciple/apostle with "feminine" features in the tradition of The Florentine School is irrelevant. As far as he was concerned according to his own notes, he was painting a youthful male, not a female.

Regardless of how it "appeared" to an early restorer or copyist as they viewed what was left of his masterpiece by the time they arrived, or how it appears to any modern day restorer - or to us in this forum for that matter, Leonardo's own words abrogate any reason to continue contending that the figure to Jesus' right is Mary Magdalene. Such an argument or belief can only be maintained if someone willfully ignores what Leonardo himself said regarding the gender of the figure to Jesus' right.

Even those who propose, argue, or believe that the Church changed the gender of the disciple "whom Jesus loved" (from female to male in the NT), surely have no grounds from which to contend that someone also changed Leonardo's notes that tell us of his intention to portray the figure as a male, not a female. Such an argument, given trying to duplicate Leonard's handwriting (not to mention attempting to conceal any changes made on centuries old manuscript paper), would be impossible to sustain subsequent to the harsh light of investigative scientific and historical scrutiny.

Thus with strokes of his writing instrument now centuries old, Leonardo da Vinci in his own words and handwriting unimpeachably describes his intention to paint a male. This description and the actions of the two figures involved that Leonardo describes as he visualizes what he will bring to life when he paints - describes the interaction between Peter and the disciple/apostle John to Jesus' right. This "word picture", this description of which Leonardo writes in anticipation of actually beginning to paint, unquestionably demonstrates his deliberate intention to include the moment described at Jn 13:32,33,34 into the overall scene he will paint of "The Last Supper".

Leonardo painted just as his notes say he intended to do not the disciple Mary Magdalene who later ran to someone other than to herself to report Jesus' body was no longer in his tomb (Jn 20:1,2), ran as she did to Peter and to this disciple whom "Jesus loved", the one whom Leonardo painted as the "Beloved Disciple" - was the youthful Apostle John.

...and Grrr82CU smile

Last edited by Lisa Shea; 12/30/12 07:24 AM.

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