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Leonardo: The Last Supper [Hardcover]

By Pinin Brambilla Barcilon (Author), Pietro C. Marani (Author) & Harlow Tighe (Translator)
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Item description for Leonardo: The Last Supper by Pinin Brambilla Barcilon, Pietro C. Marani & Harlow Tighe...

Leonardo's "Last Supper," one of the most important works of the Renaissance if not all of Western art, was painted between 1494 and 1498 in the refectory of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. From the moment that the prior at the monastery complained to Leonardo that the work was taking too long, the "Last Supper" has endured centuries of controversy, neglect, and difficulty. "Leonardo, The Last Supper," translated from the Italian, is the definitive document of the recently completed project to reverse these centuries of decline by restoring the painting and preserving it in a manner that generations of conservators have failed to do.
The technical problems with the "Last Supper" began as soon as Leonardo started to paint it. He jettisoned the traditional fresco technique of applying paint to wet plaster, a method unsuited to Leonardo's slow and thorough execution, and created the work instead with an experimental technique that involved painting directly on the dry plaster. With this renegade method, Leonardo rendered one of the most enduring painting techniques volatile and unstable. Added to this initial complication have been centuries of pollution, tourists, candle smoke, and the ravages of age, not to mention food fights in the refectory staged by Napoleonic soldiers and Allied bombs in 1943. By the middle of the twentieth century, the "Last Supper" was in desperate need of a complete restoration.
Pinin Brambilla Barcilon was chosen to head this twenty-year project, and "Leonardo, The Last Supper" is the official record of her remarkable effort. It first documents the cleaning and removal of the overpainting performed in the other attempts at restoration and then turns to Barcilon's meticulous additions in watercolor, which were based on Leonardo's preparatory drawings, early copies of the painting, and contemporary textual descriptions. This book presents full-scale reproductions of details from the fresco that clearly display and distinguish Leonardo's hand from that of the restorer. With nearly 400 sumptuous color reproductions, the most comprehensive technical documentation of the project by Barcilon, and an introductory essay by art historian and project codirector Pietro C. Marani that focuses on the history of the fresco, "Leonardo, The Last Supper" is an invaluable historic record, an extraordinarily handsome book, and an essential volume for anyone who appreciates the beauty, technical achievements, and fate of Renaissance painting.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Leonardo: The Last Supper by Pinin Brambilla Barcilon, Pietro C. Marani & Harlow Tighe has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -

  • Univ PR Books for Public Libry - 01/01/2002 page 63
  • Publishers Weekly - 04/09/2001 page 68
  • Library Journal - 06/01/2001 page 150
  • New York Review of Books - 08/09/2001 page 8
  • New York Times - 12/02/2001 page 18

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Item Specifications...

Studio: University Of Chicago Press
Pages   440
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 11.7" Width: 10.3" Height: 2"
Weight:   7.5 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Apr 2, 2001
Publisher   University Of Chicago Press
ISBN  0226504271  
ISBN13  9780226504278  

Availability  0 units.

More About Pinin Brambilla Barcilon, Pietro C. Marani & Harlow Tighe

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Pinin Brambilla Barcilon is one of the world's foremost authorities on the conservation of Renaissance frescoes. She has published widely on the subject and is responsible for a number of important technical advancements in the field. For the last twenty years, she has served as the chief conservator of the project to restore the Last Supper.
Pietro C. Marani is a curator and Renaissance scholar who specializes in the life and production of Leonardo da Vinci. His books include Leonardo: I Maestri, Leonardo and Venice, and Leonardo: Catalogo Completo dei Dipinti.
Harlow Tighe is a translator living in Milan.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Art > Art History > General
2Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Art > Art History > Regional > European
3Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Art > Art History > Schools, Periods & Styles > Renaissance
4Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Art > Art Instruction & Reference > General
5Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Art > Painting > General
6Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Art > Painting
7Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Art > Religious
8Books > Subjects > History > Europe > Italy > General
9Books > Subjects > History > Europe > Italy > Renaissance

Reviews - What do customers think about Leonardo: The Last Supper?

Superb effort  Mar 10, 2001
For those who are interested in the highly controversial world of art conservation/restoration, this book is a must. For the first time in English, we have an in-depth account of the 20-plus year intervention on Leonardo's masterpiece, the Last Supper. The project, applauded by some and decried by many, is documented here with hundreds of color illustrations and an essay by the chief conservator of the project. This is largely the Italians' point of view, which is highly controversial. But as the English-language editors say in their preface, it is important that all informed voices be heard in the debate as to the originality of Leonardo's hand and just what sort of intervention was appropriate to this situation.
definitive and exquisite!  Mar 2, 2001
The focus of this book is the controversial restoration of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper, an icon of Renaissance art and a fresco that was in trouble from the time Leonardo painted it using nontraditional fresco techniques. The difficulty of the restoration just completed lay in the problems of the original, which began to flake and and self-destruct soon after its completion. A number of attempts at restoration over the past several hundred years resulted in the destruction and/or replacement of a good deal of the original, and the contemporary restoration was an attempt to undo past mistakes and reveal as much as possible of the remaining original while preserving the piece. The extraordinary color images in this book depict virtually every square inch of the fresco before, during, and after the just-completed restoration. It is the best documentation we will ever have of a remarkable work and the struggle to keep it from vanishing.

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