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Leonardo's Last Supper: Before and After

December 18, 1983 – March 4, 1984
East Building, Ground Floor East, Concourse Level (3,000 sq. ft.)

Albrecht Dürer, The Last Supper, 1523, woodcut, Rosenwald Collection, 1943.3.3688

This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery.

Overview: This 3-part presentation of Leonardo's Last Supper was based on a before-and-after theme. The first part, organized by the Royal Library at Windsor with curator Jane Roberts, consisted of 20 preparatory studies by or after Leonardo da Vinci. They were selected from the collection of Queen Elizabeth II. The second section, organized by the National Gallery, showed 22 drawings and prints made after the Last Supper by later European artists, including Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt van Rijn, and Peter Paul Rubens. The third part consisted of a full-scale, 34-by-36-foot photographic color reproduction of the fresco, which was mounted on the wall next to the auditorium on the concourse. This montage of 20 panels and 20 full-size Polaroid images showing the current restoration was provided by the National Geographic Society.

Organization: Gaillard Ravenel and Mark Leithauser designed the exhibition, and Gordon Anson designed the lighting for the National Gallery.

Sponsor: The exhibition was supported by the Olivetti Corporation, which had also funded the restoration of the mural.

Attendance: 125,352

Catalog: Studies for the Last Supper from the Royal Library at Windsor Castle, by Carlo Pedretti, introduction by Kenneth Clark. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983.
Leonardo's Last Supper: Precedents and Reflections, by David Alan Brown. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 1983.
Leonardo's Last Supper: The Restoration, by David Alan Brown. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 1983.

Other Venues: Milan

Leonardo da Vinci
Italian, 1452 - 1519