The story of the painting of The Last Supper is extremely interesting and
two incidents connected
with it afford a most convincing lesson on the effects of right thinking or
wrong thinking in the life of a boy or girl,
or of a man or woman.
Leonardo Da Vinci, the noted Italian artist painted the Last Supper. It too
seven years for him to complete it.
The figures representing the twelve Apostles and Christ himself were
painted from living persons.
The life-model for the painting of the figure of Jesus was chosen first.
When it was decided that Da Vinci would paint this great picture, hundreds
and hundreds of young men were
carefully viewed in an endeavor to find a face and personality exhibiting
innocence and beauty, free from
the scars and signs of dissipation caused by sin.
Finally, after weeks of laborious search, a young man nineteen years of age
was selected as a model for
the portrayal of Christ. For six months Da Vinci worked on the production
of this leading character of his famous
painting. During the next six years Da Vinci continued his labors on this
sublime work of art. One by one fitting
persons were chosen to represent each of the eleven Apostles -- with space
being left for the painting of the
figure representing Judas Iscariot as the final task of this masterpiece.
This was the Apostle, you remember, who betrayed his Lord for thirty pieces
of silver. For weeks Da Vinci searched
for a man with a hard, callous face, with a countenance marked by scars of
avarice, deceit, hypocrisy, and crime.
A face that would delineate a character who would betray his best friend.
After many discouraging experiences in searching for the type of person
required to represent Judas, word came
to Da Vinci that a man whose appearance fully met his requirements had been
found in a dungeon in Rome,
sentenced to die for a life of crime and murder. Da Vinci made the trip to
Rome at once, and this man was brought
out from his imprisonment in the dungeon and led out into the light of the
sun. There Da Vinci saw before him a dark,
swarthy man his long shaggy and unkempt hair sprawled over his face, which
betrayed a character of viciousness
and complete ruin. At last the famous painter had found the person he
wanted to represent the character of Judas in
his painting. By special permission from the king, this prisoner was
carried to Milan where the picture was being painted.
For months he sat before Da Vinci at appointed hours each day as the gifted
artist diligently continued his task of
transmitting, to his painting, this base character representing the traitor
and betrayer of our Savior.
As he finished his last stroke, he turned to the guards and said, I have
finished. You may take the prisoner away.
As the guards were leading their prisoner away, he suddenly broke loose
from their control and rushed up to Da Vinci,
crying as he did so, "Da Vinci, look at me. Do you not know who I am?" Da
Vinci, with the trained eyes of a great
character student, carefully scrutinized the man upon whose face he had
constantly gazed for six months and replied,
"No, I have never seen you in my life until you were brought before me out
of the dungeon in Rome."
Then, lifting his eyes toward heaven, the prisoner said, "Oh God, have I
fallen so low?" Then turning his face to the
painter he cried, "Leonardo Da Vinci, look at me again for I am the same
man you painted just seven years ago
as the figure of Christ."