The Last Supper was painted by Leonardo Da Vinci, a
noted Italian artist; and the time engaged for its
completion was seven years. The figures representing
the twelve Apostles and Christ himself were painted
from living persons. The life-model for the painting
of the figure of Jesus was chosen first.
When it was decided that Da Vinci would paint this
great picture, hundreds and hundreds of young men were
carefully viewed in an endeavor to find a face and
personality exhibiting innocence and beauty, free from
the scars and signs of dissipation caused by sin.
Finally, after weeks of laborious searching, a young
man nineteen years of age was selected as a model for
the portrayal of Christ. For six months, DaVinci worked
on the production of this leading character of his famous
During the next six years, Da Vinci continued his
labors on this sublime work of art. One by one fitting
persons were chosen to represent each of the eleven
Apostles; space being left for the painting of the
figure representing Judas Iscariot as the final task of
this masterpiece. This was the Apostle, you remember,
who betrayed his Lord for thirty pieces of silver, worth
in our present day, currency of $16.96.
For weeks, Da Vinci searched for a man with a hard
callous face, with a countenance marked by scars of
avarice, deceit, hypocrisy, and crime; a face that
would delineate a character who would betray his
After many discouraging experiences in searching for
the type of person required to represent Judas, word
came to Da Vinci that a man whose appearance fully met
his requirements had been found in a dungeon in Rome,
sentenced to die for a life of crime and murder.
Da Vinci made the trip to Rome at once, and this man
was brought out from his imprisonment in the dungeon
and led out into the light of the sun. There Da Vinci
saw before him a dark, swarthy man; his long, shaggy
and unkempt hair sprawled over his face, which betrayed
a character of viciousness and complete ruin. At last,
the famous painter had found the person he wanted to
represent the character of Judas in his painting.
By special permission from the king, this prisoner
was carried to Milan where the picture was being
painted; and for months he sat before Da Vinci
at appointed hours each day as the gifted artist
diligently continued his task of transmitting to his
painting this base character in the picture representing
the traitor and betrayer of our savior. As he
finished his last stroke, he turned to the guards and
said, "I have finished. You may take the prisoner away."
As the guards were leading their prisoner away, he
suddenly broke loose from their control and rushed up
to Da Vinci, crying as he did so, "O, Da Vinci, look
at me! Do you not know who I am?"
Da Vinci, with the trained eyes of a great character
student, carefully scrutinized the man upon whose face
he had constantly gazed for six months and replied,
"No, I have never seen you in my life until you were
brought before me out of the dungeon in Rome."
Then, lifting his eyes toward Heaven, the prisoner
said, "Oh, God, have I fallen so low?" Then turning
his face to the painter he cried, "Leonardo Da Vinci!
Look at me again for I am the same man you painted just
seven years ago as the figure of Christ."
This is the true story of the painting of The Last
Supper that teaches so strongly the lesson of the
effects of right or wrong thinking on the life of
an individual. Here was a young man whose character
was so pure, unspoiled by the sins of the world that
he presented a countenance of innocence and beauty fit
to be used for the painting of a representation of Christ.
But within seven years, following the thoughts of sin
and a life of crime, he was changed into a perfect picture
of the most traitorous character ever known in the
history of the world.