This was an extremely easy choice to pick two works of art to compare and contrast with one another. I wanted to choose two works of art that had similar subject matter but had plentiful amounts of differences. For my first piece of artwork is “The Last Supper” by Andrea del Castagno, page 614 of our textbook. And the second piece of art is “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci, page 635 in the textbook. I choose these two works of art because they are the exactly same subject matter but both artists portrayed the event similarly but differently. Both paintings are of Jesus Christ with his twelve disciples having their last supper together before Jesus would be condemned to the cross.
When looking at each painting we can see clear similarities. Both, del Castagno and da Vinci have Jesus Christ in the center of the painting making him the focal point of each painting. We see movement in each piece as well. We can see that Jesus is talking to his disciples and they are conversing with one another about what they are being told. In each piece we also can see naturalism in the figures. Each disciple and Jesus look like naturalistic humans; their proportions seem to fell right as well as bone structure and completion. Although these paintings have similarities we can tell that they are doing by different artist.
Starting with how the paintings are composed we can see that in Andrea del Castagno’s fresco of “The Last Supper”, when looking at the disciples and Jesus we have a feeling of naturalism however at the same time there are some oddities that doesn’t let your brain feel as though its an extreme representation of naturalism. To me they seem to have a chisel look; as if they are like statues. They do have movement but it seems as if they movement they have is static movement; that since that they were frozen in motion like a statue. When comparing that to Leonardo da Vinci’s tempera of “The Last Supper”; the disciples and Jesus Christ seem so much more human like. The skin seems more creamy and smooth. It just seems more naturalistic because compared to Castagno’s representation these figures seem to have some meat on their bones. In Castagno’s fresco you can see strong bon structure which is not very naturalistic compared to how da Vinci’s humans have some mass to them. Also a huge difference is that da Vinci’s tempera painting has a ton more movement throughout the painting and I feel as though it has more emotion in it as well. You get a sense of confusion and chaos as many know this is depicting the event of when Jesus is telling his disciples that one of them will betray him. You just get a good sense of a bad scenario being played out compared to the fresco painting where it’s more of a tame world. You don’t have a sense of chaos or confusion.
I think that the biggest difference between the two is depth. We have some depth in Castagno’s fresco but not much. Yes we can tell that they are all sitting at a table and there is depth with Jesus in front of the table and his disciples behind and around the table; however it still seems to have a flat or two-dimensional feeling to it. Yes there are shadows but not enough. When we look at da Vinci’s tempera, it has amazing feel of depth. Da Vinci use of shadows and highlights really give this tempera a great sense of depth as well as realism. I really feel like as though da Vinci was if he witnessing this historical event. Another thing that helps is that this painting has a vanishing point which helps da Vinci get his proportion correctly as things recede to the background. One last thing I would like to point out is that in chapter 20 is when we start to learn about the triangle or pyramid theory; in da Vinci’s tempera painting he depicts Jesus Christ in a triangular shape. His head being the top point of the triangle and his arms being the sides. I am not sure of the significance of this; as well as I feel that this was more of a coincidences then anything.
I truly feel that out of the two of these depictions of the last supper, Leonardo da Vinci’s tempera painting is by far the most impactful. This might be why he is more known than Andrea del Castagno. Da Vinci’s is so much more naturalistic and impressionable.