Since Da Vinci completed his mural of the Last Supper in the 15th century, it has become one of the most recognized pieces of art in the Western world. In fact, it is no doubt the image that many people bring to mind when thinking of the famous biblical scene. And yet the depiction contains a host of historical inaccuracies.
For instance, according to experts, the table used in the painting is not of the right style for the period. The material of the walls is also, apparently, inaccurate. And even the cups that Jesus and his apostles are using do not fit the setting. The fact that the diners are sitting – rather than reclining – doesn’t match the customs of the Middle East at that time, either, and the facial features, skin tones and outfits of the people portrayed also seem out of place.
Yet nevertheless, the reported inaccuracies in The Last Supper don’t take away from the painting’s enduring impact. If anything, in fact, the use of artistic license perhaps makes the scene more relatable and therefore more emotive for its originally intended Western audience. But in any case, the Da Vinci mural remains an important text in art history.