Priory of Santa Maria delle Grazie.
Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Super.

A brief description.

Milano owes its fortune of possessing the magnificent Renaissance church of Santa Maria delle Grazie and one of the greatest works of Italian painting, the Last Supper, in the annexed priory refectory, to none other than Ludovico il Moro. And in spite of extensive damage, extraordinarily beautiful portions of Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece can be enjoyed today thanks to the last restoration.

Santa Maria delle Grazie

Santa Maria delle Grazie is a church for Ludovico il Moro. Though he was merely an acting duke and did not become one in name until the death of his nephew, the legitimate duke Gian Galeazzo Sforza, Ludovico il Moro chose the Dominican church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, - connected with the priory, founded by Dominic of Catalogna (ca 1410-1477/78) between 1451 and 1466 -, in 1463, as the mausoleum for himself and his family.
Only a decade after the completion of the Lombard Gothic style church by Guiniforte Solari, construction began in 1492 on a new and gigantic chancel topped by a decorated dome projected by Bramante, who also designed the marble doorway, the old sacristy and the small cloister "of the frogs." Frescoes by Lombard Renaissance masters Butinone, Zenale and Gaudenzio Ferrari ornate the interior.

The last supper by Leonardo da Vinci

Meanwhile, beginning in 1494, Leonardo da Vinci himself was summoned to work on the church and to "fresco" the north wall of the refectory. Leonardo finished his fresco Last Supper (420x910 cm) in April 1498, a year before the French entered Milanoo and ended the grandiose funerary projects of Ludovico il Moro.

Church Santa Maria delle Grazie of the
priory in Milano. 

Italian Republic 1944-1945, Mi 660, Sc R30.

As the seat of the Inquisition trials beginning in 1553, Santa Maria delle Grazie was well preserved. Leonardo's Last Supper, however, was so heavily deteriorated that only a blotch was visible,
(Giorgio Vasari in 1568). Nevertheless, the Last Supper, together with the "Crucifixion" frescoed by Montorfano on the opposite wall, managed to survive World War II bombings that brought down the rest of the refectory.

In former years the prior ordered to pull down a big piece of the fresco to make an entrance to the refectory, so the feet of Christ disappeared. 
The last restoration, conducted by Pinin Brambilla Barcilon under the auspices of Milano's Superintendent for Artistic and Historic Heritage, took over 20 years and was completed in 1999.

Source: Internet Milanoomusei


The Last supper, fresco by Leonardo da Vinci (15.04.1452-02.05.1519), ordered by Ludovico Sforza, 1495- February 1428, tempera on stone, 420 x 910 cm., for the refectory of the Dominican priory Santa Maria delle Grazie (Saint Mary of Graces) in Milano.

On this stamp of Ajman you can see the bad situation of this fresco and the damage of the cutting for the door.

Ajman 1972, Mi Bl 496.                             

There are many countries that have published this fresco:

Cyprus 1981, Mi 550, Sc 563.
Fujeira 1970, Mi Bl 30; Sc -- 
Liberia 1969, Mi 719, Sc 493.

Paraguay 1967, Mi 1690, Bl 97; Sc 107a.

Saint Thomas and Prince Islands 2003, Mi Bl 421, Sc --.

500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last supper
 (1498-1598), in
the refectory of the Dominican priory
Santa Maria delle Grazie
, Milano.

Italy 1998, Mi 2556, Sc 2200.
Postmark, Milano 04.04.1998: the same fresco.

On this stamp and the postmark the situation before the restoration.

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