Last Supper Question – Who Attended the Last Supper and Why?

What is luxury? Certainly, luxury has a lot in common with rarity, and while the world’s finest mechanical watches may be made in editions limited to a thousand, a hundred, thirty pieces, a work of art is absolutely unique and so acquires value in the eyes of collectors. Damian Hirst’s diamond-encrusted skull titled «For the love of God» cost £14 million to make and was put on sale at £50 million, but even more remarkable in terms of acquired value was the Codex Leicester, or Codex Hammer, thirty-three drawings by Leonardo da Vinci which were bought by Bill Gates in 1994 for $30 million.

So, if luxury has something in common with rarity, then the original DaVinci Last Supper enables everyone to experience the ultimate luxury in art, because this work is absolutely unique, and will never be moved to another museum for a temporary exhibition. It is indissolubly tied to the walls of the room in which it was painted, the refectory of a Dominican monastery in central Milan. Santa Maria delle Grazie.

It is common knowledge that this Renaissance Last Supper is in a bad state, but it is in better condition now than it has been for almost five hundred years. Leonardo painted it from 1494 to 1498, and his finished work sent shock waves through the Italian Renaissance and the world of art at that time. But just a few decades after it had been finished, it began to deteriorate. Often, people think that this was caused by an experimental technique invented by the artist that went wrong, but this is not actually the case.

In the German city of Erfurt, the Catholic cathedral has a large fresco depicting Saint Christopher, in excellent condition, recorded as having been painted «a l’huile sur le mur prepare au moyen d’une couche d’huile et d’une couche de blanc de plomb». This corresponds to the preparation of the wall on which the Last Supper was painted, a very fine plaster mixed with an oily substance, possibly wax, and then coated with a layer of white lead. The technique therefore was not an invention by Leonardo, but a method that had been described previously, in particular, by Cennino Cennini in the 14th century. In fact, according to Cennini, the traditional fresco painting technique, using pigments direct on wet plaster, was the safest, but had the disadvantage of restricting the range of colours that could be used. Cennini in fact recommended the use of pittura a secco, namely painting onto dry plaster, for the final touches alone. Leonardo had evidently heard about the techniques used in northern Europe, and decided to use the oil-based technique for his fresco. This was also important for his desire to work slowly on the painting, giving him sufficient time to develop the gradual shading or chiaroscuro that was essential in his style.

Unfortunately, the wall was subject to rising damp, and the situation was made worse by the fact that on the other side of the wall were the kitchens, where the food eaten by the monks in the refectory was prepared. In the years following the completion of the work, the moisture in the wall repelled the oily ground, and it began to crack, fragmenting the painted surface. In many areas, the individual pieces of plaster between the cracks took on a concave shape, like a series of tiny shells, within which dirt accumulated. During the innumerable restoration operations that have been performed over the centuries, the painting was scraped with spatulas and metal brushes in an attempt to force the plaster back into shape, but this just damaged the edges of the individual concave chips, exposing the lead white ground. Layers of resin and glue were painted over it in an attempt to stabilize the layer of pigment. On several occasions, painters were actually summoned to bring the work back to its original glory by painting over it. By 1969, many scholars believed that there was nothing at all left of Leonardo’s original work, but just accumulated dirt and the paint added during successive repainting operations.

Only in 1977 did the first trial areas of cleaning demonstrate that it was possible to remove the extraneous layers and reach Leonardo’s original pigment. And this is what was done in the operation that lasted from 1978 to 1999.

Another event in the history of this painting proves that its survival up until today is something of a miracle. In August 1943, the refectory received a direct hit from a bomb dropped in one of the three air-raids planned to accelerate the Kingdom of Italy’s Armistice (signed on 3rd September). The blast completely destroyed the roof and one of the long walls of the refectory. The two end walls – one with the Last Supper, the other with Montorfano’s Crucifixion – survived, and the paintings remained intact because they had been protected by a wall of sandbags from floor to ceiling. It is no surprise, considering its turbulent history, that its conditions are closely monitored. Visits are limited to 25 people every 15 minutes, which is why pre-booking is necessary.

Before entering the hall itself, visitors pass through a series of glass-encased rooms that delicately remove excess humidity and dust by means of a pressure differential. In other words, you are hoovered, but very gently. Inside the refectory, there is nothing. Nothing except Leonardo’s painting, and Montorfano’s on the opposite wall. At this point there is another analogy with a valuable mechanical timepiece. You can only appreciate its value if you understand something of its incredible complication. Just as to the eyes of a layman, superficially there doesn’t seem to be all that much difference between a Piaget and a Swatch, the Last Supper runs the risk of leaving a visitor with the feeling «is that it?» Worse, a lack of information leaves ample space for writers – most famously Dan Brown and The Da Vinci Code, but many other even worse authors who wanted their share of this dubious glory – to reinterpret the painting as they wish. And so, according to Dan Brown, the feminine-looking figure to the left of Christ is not actually one of the twelve Apostles, but Mary Magdalene. This immediately prompts a Brown sceptic such as myself to ask, so where did the twelfth disciple go? Out buying the pizzas, or just late for dinner?

The truth of the matter is that the painting is a true grand complication. There is so much meaning, on several different layers of complexity, that any of the modern reinterpretations pales in comparison. The Last Supper question is one that has never been comprehensively answered.

The first level of meaning is the scene itself. Leonardo chose an exact moment in the Gospel narration of the Last Supper. «In truth, I tell you, one of you will betray me…» says Jesus, who is shown in the act of speaking. This revelation surges outwards amongst the Disciples who react, each in his own way, coalescing them into four groups of three. Christ has an expression of resigned sadness and at the same time, an assured and regal poise. He gestures to the wine with his right hand, to the bread with his left, instituting the fundamental Christian ritual of the Eucharist. The movement of the Disciples isolates Jesus, leaving Him alone at the centre of the composition. He is the only person to have a geometrical shape, an almost perfect equilateral triangle. He is also the only person to wear robes in red and dark blue. This is a tradition that descends from Medieval traditions in painting and stained glass.

The most expensive pigments to make were deep blue and bright red, requiring pulverized lapislazzuli and gold respectively, and so over the centuries, these pigments were used only for the most important figures in the composition. Leonardo painted the Apostles after having made countless drawings, some of which have survived in his notebooks. One preparatory drawing shows the Apostles labeled with their names. In fact, each Apostle had acquired a sort of standard appearance throughout the history of art up until that point, so that a person could recognize them in paintings and frescoes. In the same way, saints and martyrs were often depicted with certain objects that left no doubt as to their identity, such as John the Baptist’s rough animal-skin clothes, St. Peter’s keys, St. Catherine’s wheel and so forth. And so we know who attended the Last Supper – namely the identity of the Apostles – from the facial expressions that Leonardo gave them. On the far left, Bartholomew is rising to his feet, incredulous. James Minor is seated, trying to attract Peter’s attention with a hand on his shoulder. Andrew has both hands in the air, a gesture still used in Italy today to mean «it wasn’t me.»

The next group of three is complicated. Judas is a dark figure, leaning back from his position close to Jesus and over the table, so that his head is actually the next, the fourth, in the sequence. He is clutching a bag of money in his right hand, while his left is about to take a piece of bread. In fact, Jesus would shortly reveal to John that the traitor would be he who would dip his bread into the same bowl as Him. Judas is distanced from the other Apostles by his dark, shadowed complexion, and by an apparently broken nose. Behind his back there is a knife held by a mysterious hand – more on this in another article.

Peter, the next in the sequence, is leaning in the opposite direction to Judas, so that although he is sitting next to Andrew – they were brothers – his head is very close to John the Evangelist. This is because, in the Gospel narration, Peter is asking John to ask Jesus who the traitor would be. John was the youngest Apostle, which was why he was traditionally shown without a beard.

Then, on the right of Jesus, there is Thomas, pointing upwards with a finger. This gesture was familiar to monks during the Renaissance: as meals in the refectory had to be taken in silence, in order to indicate God there was a conventional sign, thumb and index finger extended, the others closed. James Major is next, in a green robe. Philip is gesturing with both hands towards his heart, saying in tortured self-doubt, «Could it be I?» Matthew, the only educated man amongst the Apostles, is debating the matter, hands outstretched towards Jesus while he himself is deep in conversation with the other two Apostles in the right-hand group, Thaddeus, and lastly Simon.

Leonardo brought about many small revolutions with this painting, advances that may seem insignificant to us in our scientific and relatively unspiritual age, but that at the time were momentous. Firstly, he completely broke with tradition as regards the position of Judas. Painters before Leonardo made sure that Judas was very different to the rest of the Apostles, often by placing him alone, on our side of the table, or by making him the only one without a halo. Leonardo puts him together with the rest, one of the twelve, part of the overall sequence, and none of his figures have a halo. Secondly, this is probably the first painting in which an artist has tried to depict the variety of human psychology. Each Apostle reacts in his own, unique way, and Leonardo depicts this using all the methods possible, facial expression, bodily position, and above all, the gestures of the hands. Third, the question of perspective. Leonardo was a master in this fundamental Renaissance rediscovery, and in this painting he both broke the rules, and used it to add extra significance to the work. He broke the rules, because when you are standing the in the refectory, the perspective seems wrong. The upper edge of the tapestries ought to follow straight from the ceiling moulding in the real room, but they don’t.

This is because Leonardo wanted to paint the fresco at a raised level, both so that it could be seen by all the monks in the room, and because the Gospel describes the Last Supper as having taken place in a room on an upper floor. If he had used perspective correctly, we would have seen nothing of what is on the table, and the table itself would have obscured most of the figure’s bodies. So he painted the scene with a perspective view that would be correct if the observer were at a height of about twelve feet. The lines of perspective, the tapestries and the ceiling beams, converge at a vanishing point that is just above Jesus’ right eye. On his temple. «Tempio» in Italian. The word has the same double meaning in both languages, and it succinctly indicates that Christ is the originator of the new faith, the new church.

Leonardo took his revolution a step further. (I should warn you that from here on, I am voicing my own ideas. You decide). The parallel between the twelve Apostles and the twelve signs of the zodiac had been noted prior to Leonardo, but no-one had ever expressed it in paintings, partly because the Church didn’t approve of the contamination of doctrine with astrology. So Leonardo put in some subtle clues. Andrew, third from left, two hands in the air, Gemini, the twins, double sign. Judas, the fourth in the sequence, symbolizes a word that had had three meanings from Ancient Greek times: karkinos, the crab, tumours, and the zodiac constellation. Cancer. Then Peter, fiery temper, a great mane of hair: Leo. And then, the sixth in the sequence, a pale, delicate, feminine face: Virgo, of course! On the other side, Thomas, doubting Thomas, whose raised finger alludes (as well as to the Divinity in the sky) to that fact that later he would say that he would not believe until he had placed his finger into the wounds on Christ’s hands, is in the position of Libra, the sign of the zodiac hallmarked by perennial doubt. Second from last, Thaddeus is holding his hand in a cup shape. Aquarius, the water-bearer.

It’s true, not all the figures have such clear astrological attributes, but I think that there is enough to corroborate the theory. But, one may ask, why did Leonardo want to risk getting into trouble again with the Church for his unorthodox approach to subject matter? Basically, Leonardo didn’t want to paint just a moment in time, important though that moment was. He also wanted to incorporate the world view corresponding to the Neoplatonic philosophy developed by Marsilio Ficino and his Florentine Academy. His room becomes man’s universe, with Christ at the centre, and numerological symbology used to symbolize the elements, the divine creation, the zodiac and the planets.

Another revolution: Leonardo saves Judas. I mentioned the knife that is behind his back, another traditional element in Last Supper paintings, indicating man’s hostility to the traitor and suggesting the fact that Judas would die soon after. While at first glance, Peter seems to be holding the knife, the impossible anatomical position of this hand shows that in actual fact, the hand grasping the knife belongs to no-one at all, and that Peter is restraining it from its murderous action. Leonardo seems to be saying, by placing Judas with the rest of the Apostles, that there is an element of evil in all of us, and that we have to accept it just as we accept death and suffering. We cannot excise evil from the human race by executing a sinner. Hands off Cain, many centuries in advance.

This, then, is one interpretation of this extraordinary painting. While I’ve taken two hours to write this article, Leonardo spent four years on the painting, and there’s more, much, much more to be told…

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How Proper Eye Care Can Help Save You Money

Saving money is on everyone’s mind in these uncertain economic times. There are various areas where small changes can mean real savings ­­– carpooling to work, bringing a bagged lunch and a brewed cup of coffee from home as opposed to going out. But when saving a few dollars comes at the expense of your health, the long-term risks far exceed any short-term benefits. This is the case with contact lenses.

Although wearing your contact lenses for longer than your prescription allows may seem like an easy way to save some money, it can have detrimental effects on ocular health.

Contact lenses are a medical device and should be treated as such, in accordance with the recommendations of your eye care practitioner. Wearing contact lenses for too long can lead to abnormal blood vessel growth on the cornea; epithelial microcysts; thinning of the cornea; and reduced corneal sensitivity.

Eye problems caused by contact lens overwear are generally due to a decrease in oxygen transmitted to the eye. Oxygen is essential to the health of the cornea. When the eye is not absorbing enough oxygen through the contact lens, hypoxic conditions ensue. Hypoxia can lead to serious infections, including microbial keratitis, a painful and potentially sight-threatening corneal infection.

Eye infections and other problems that arise from improper contact lens care can be very costly – medical expenses and lost days of work, not to mention the inconvenience and impact on quality of life of vision problems. In 1990, researchers estimated that the cost of blindness and visual impairment to the federal budget of the United States was approximately $4 billion.

Risks and best practices

Contact lenses have been around for more than 100 years and though significant advances have been made in that time, the risks and side effects associated with wear remain a reality.

A contact lens is a foreign object to the eye. If the lens does not fit properly or is not properly cared for, it can adversely affect vision and the eye itself.

The most common problems associated with contact lens wear are excess tearing, itching or burning, dryness, sensitivity to light, and distorted vision. All of these symptoms can be worsened by improper lens care, which includes wearing lenses too long.

On occasion, a contact lens wearer will wear their lenses until their vision becomes blurred or distorted, and may not realize that this behavior can cause permanent, irreversible damage to the cornea, the front covering of the eye which provides about two-thirds of the eye’s focusing power.

When contact lens wearers disregard their cleaning and lens replacement schedules, the ability of their contact lens to transmit oxygen to the cornea decreases, and deposits build up on the lens surface and within the lens material itself.

The continued wear of lenses with protein deposits can lead to infections, giant papillary conjunctivitis, and potentially serious long-term hypoxic changes such as myopia creep, corneal thinning, and chronic low-grade corneal edema.

Cutting corners with contact lens care can result in temporary, and in some cases, permanent eye damage. However, contact lens wearers who properly maintain and care for their lenses are benefited greatly by it.

Although there are several types of contact lenses that are approved for continuous wear for up to 30 days, this schedule is not appropriate for everyone. Wearing lenses at night reduces the amount of oxygen that is transmitted to the cornea. This reduction in oxygen absorption can damage the surface of the cornea, allowing germs and bacteria to grow more rapidly.

Every person’s eyes are different and respond differently to contact lenses. It is important to discuss a schedule that best suits your individual needs with your eye care practitioner.

For more information regarding contact lenses and eye care, visit Contact Lens King [http://www.contactlensking.com/index.aspx]

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Dubai Palm Island Property Investment

Dubai's reputation as a property hot spot has been secure for the last six years with the construction boom to match, fueled by an increase in tourism in the south of Asia and investment in overseas property in Dubai boasting some of the most ambitious projects including the famous Dubai Palm Island the self declared 'eighth wonder of the world.' Prospective owners of property on the Palm Island are buying a unique piece of history as well as a holiday home.

The Palm Islands (Palm Jumeirah, Palm Jebel Ali and Palm Deira) will add a total of 520 kilometers to the shoreline which nearly doubles this lucrative area for Dubai. The Palm Jumeirah alone boasts 30 beach front hotels due to open by the end of 2009. The available property will include three main types of property including canal cove town homes, signature villas and garden homes which will be complemented by a series of community bars, cafes, retail outlets, sports and spa facilities.

The finished development is set to dazzle and amaze prospective owners almost as much as the construction itself, and it will employ 40,000 workers, most of them from south Asia itself which has no doubt had a positive impact on the local population. The island was created using sand to build up the area before construction, a mega 95 million cubic meters of sand and 7 million tons of rock. Dubai's national import of cement increased by over 70% during 2007 to accommodate the construction of the world's largest cement canals as part of the Palm Island project.

A development of this size is not without it's environmental impact, the relocation of much wildlife in the artificial reef's off the Palm Jumeirah has maintained the local ecosystem as well as encouraging new marine life within the area giving property owners much of the original natural wildlife attractions of the Dubai coastline. Unfortunately the impact of the continuous barrier surrounding the Palm has disturbed the natural flow of tidal waves causing the water within the Palm to become stagnated measures have been taken to create movement and oxygenation within the Palm have been taken.

The Palm Island Project itself has run into many unforeseen situations such as the breakwater displacing the tidal flow, this is one of the things blamed for the ongoing setbacks in construction and seems to be around two years later than planned. Another main factor has been the increase in the number of properties on each of the Island. The original plans have doubled in the number of individual properties available, which has lead to fears that construction will be damaged by the increase in use especially at the entry and exit points. The decrease in individual property living space will undoubtedly have an effect on any resale value, of property on the Palm Island and investors who bought from the original plans have never been compensated for the increase in properties available but even with this set back any long term investment made on Palm Island will give a sound return due to its unique and extravagant location.

En la tienda online de Camisetas de fútbol tenemos todas las camisetas de tus equipos y selecciones favoritas en tallas para adulto y niño. by Chelsea Butterworth

Alaska – Not Only a Tourist Destination for Summer Vacations

Alaska is blessed with stunning landscapes: snow-clad mountains and beautiful lakes and coastlines. Alaska is a heaven for the adventurous traveler. You will have a lot of offers for outdoor life in Alaska: Kayaking in fjords and lakes, trekking the valleys and mountains, wildlife viewing is inevitable with happy sights of big brown bears, eagles, and the rich marine life with whales and seabirds.

Alaska has been called ‘The Last Frontier’, ‘The Land of the Midnight Sun’, ‘The Great Land’ – all names for good reasons. Alaska is reallyan exotic and wild land – and at the same time offering all needed facilities for the visitor, all year round.

The capital of Alaska, Anchorage, is a natural starting point for your Alaska experience. You will find some up to date information at anchorage.net about the area as a tourist destination.

Anchorage has a rater mild climate in the southern part of the country due to the maritime influence while many parts of Alaska have a continental climate with much bigger differences between winter and summer.

In Anchorage you will find first class hotels as well as lots of other more modest priced hotel accommodations. Or you might like the bed and breakfast offers. Leaving Anchorage you can find very charming resorts and cabins.

As a country with a rather tuff past Alaska is home to a number of interesting resorts revealing past conditions and history, like historic ins, cozy cabins, mountain chalets and lodges, not to mention fishing lodges. Of cause you will also find convenient located motels.

When trekking, biking or driving your car camping is easy on numerous designated campgrounds, and even public use cabins, yurts or just in the beautiful countryside. Remember to bring insect repellant, compass and a good map with you.

The fishing option in Alaska is a chapter of its own. In spectacular environments Alaska is an angler’s dream. The rivers, lakes and the oceans of Alaska are teeming with big runs of Rainbow Trout, Salmon, Arctic Char and huge examples of Halibut are cached of-shore.

It is easy to understand why anglers are traveling from far to catch the sport fishes of Alaska. Alaska holds the world record of King Salmon and is home to five species of Pacific Salmon. What more can you dream about, if you are a dedicated angler? And as mentioned fishing cabins, lodges and resorts are often convenient situated for fishing.

If you are on a tight time schedule fly-in service to unbelievable beautiful streams and lakes are available. Some are offering local guides to facilitate your fishing for Salmon, Char, Pike, Grayling, Whitefish and Sheefish.

As mentioned Alaska isn’t only for summer vacations. Even the middle of the winter is a fine time for visiting Alaska. For example are parts of Alaska excellent for skiing in the winter. A skiing resort might just offer seven hours of daylight for skiing in December but then facilities for night skiing is offered. Because of the northern location the skiing in April will boost a full 16 hors of daylight for skiing.

All in all Alaska is a superb tourist destination that will not disappoint you for your summer vacation as well as for adventurous travels with focus on winter activities or wildlife watching through the year.

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Is Money the Most Important Motivational Factor in Football?

Now, we know that players would literally pay from their own pockets, as Fabregas did, in order to move to big name clubs such as Man Utd, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern (I won’t be including any Italian clubs here as they have been quite horrible as of late). It’s quite understandable as players feel like they have achieved their well-awaited dream, if they move to these clubs. Do they realize that the same move could either tarnish their image or reduce their minutes on the pitch? Real Madrid as a club can be taken as a very good example, because of the high profile players it has attracted in the past years. After the original Galacticos, highly talented players like Michael Owen, Robinho, Arjen Robben, Van der Vaart and Wesley Sneijder have represented the clubs unsuccessfully. All the players mentioned here actually under-performed since their time at previous clubs.

Except for Anelka, Robben and Sneijder, haven’t really seen these players get their pre-Madrid form back yet. Isn’t football about trying to play and perform consistently? Yes, playing in a team like Madrid will enhance your performance, that is if you are on the pitch but what are the chances of making it into the midfield line up of current Madrid or the Manchester City team? Madrid is loaded with superstars like Ozil, Khedira, Xabi Alonso, Kaka, Altintop, Lassana, Di Maria and the latest addition Nuri Sahin (from Borussia). These according to me are all class players especially Nuri Sahin. His performance for Dortmund last year played a huge role in them winning the Bundesliga. What are the chances of him playing consistently with the presence of others around? The same goes for Man City as well. I support the team with all that I have but someone will be disappointed. Milner, De Jong, Nasri, Johnson, Barry, Silva, Toure and Hargreaves. Great for the eye but in terms of sustainability – not so good.

But in the end, who are we to judge or truly understand the motives behind the switch. Maybe it was for the money or maybe it was for the coach they were playing under or may be it was basically for the credibility of the club. Whatever the reason, every year we have the opportunity to see the actual worth of the transfers by the end of the season. At least my man Eto’o came out saying clearly that he was moving to Anzi for the money. Come-on 20 Million Euros per year. 20 Million? I obviously don’t blame Eto’o for accepting the money. For 20 M, I would move to Dagestan and eat a Siberian Yak’s frozen testicles for breakfast, lunch and dinner. His family, grandkids and great grandkids could be well off with that sort of money. However, I blame the prevailing bodies for tolerating that amount to be paid.

Compra online la Camisetas de fútbol! En JD encontrarás las del FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, la selección de España y equipos internacionales. by Shuaib Basheer Ahmed

Football – America’s Favorite Sport

Football is America’s favorite sport. It is very aggressive and challenging. There is a lot of contact involved, so you do have to be in good physical condition to participate in the game. It can also be very dangerous, if played incorrectly. It is important to follow all the rules and regulations to ensure safety.

The game of football is a rewarding past time. For young boys who have played the game all their lives, and they wish to continue once they graduate college, it can be a very lucrative career. If a player performs well on the college level, then he will be eligible to enter the draft. Once an NFL team selects an individual to play on their team, they will have a chance of accomplishing things within the organization.

If choosing football as a career. one should obtain adequate knowledge about the sport in order to truly understand the essence of the game. It is very essential that they acquire pertinent information, in order to maintain the love of the game through their career. An NFL career can be very rewarding and have lots of great perks along the way.

In conclusion, if one becomes a professional football player, they are looked upon as role models, to the future generation. Getting involved in the community and becoming a mentor is a good way to have a positive effect on the youth of today. Leaving a positive legacy for others to follow is a way to achieve that goal. Therefore, it is imperative that our athletes of today continue to set the example for the generation of tomorrow.

Compra online la Camisetas de fútbol! En JD encontrarás las del FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, la selección de España y equipos internacionales. by Andrea Julian