Completed in the late 15th century, Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper is one of history's most revered and recognizable paintings. For hundreds of years, generations of awe-stricken onlookers have visited this masterwork. Little did they know what they were missing. Restoration efforts have been ongoing for nearly two decades, and have uncovered something alarming. Only 20% of the original artwork still exists; the remainder has been vanquished by the erosion of history. What details have been obscured with the passage of time? The Search of the Last Supper attempts to reconstruct the famed mural as it was originally conceived.
In depicting a seminal moment in biblical history when Christ announces he has been betrayed by one of his apostles, da Vinci imbued The Last Supper with a meticulous eye for detail, and a more ambitious scope than he had ever before attempted. Unfortunately, the oils he employed were ill-equipped to withstand the wrath of time, and began to fade soon after completion.
The filmmakers travel to Italy and visit many of the sites where da Vinci lived and worked. Viewers will gain a sense of his upbringing, his training, and the evolution of his singular artistic vision. In addition, the film explores the depiction of sacred iconography, historical context and raw emotion in The Last Supper.
From there, it's on to Tongerlo, Belgium, where an astounding second version of The Last Supper was recently unearthed. The filmmakers attempt to ascertain what inspired da Vinci to create a duplicate, who might have commissioned it, and how it differs from the original fresco hanging in the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan.
Assorted art historians assist the filmmakers in piecing together the details of da Vinci's life and art throughout the course of the film. They also reflect on how his unique sensibilities forever shaped future generations of beloved artists.
The Search of the Last Supper is an exciting globe-trotting adventure. The scenery is splendid, and the discoveries and artifacts are riveting. Viewers will feel like seasoned sleuths combing the inner sanctums of the art history world.