Last Supper - Retrograde

This video (below) shows multiple photographs of the Last Supper before it was restored. They were "auto-aligned" so that they would stack over each other for the comparison. Previously they were all slightly off and you can still see that they are not perfectly synced which gives a neat transitional movement from one image to another as they warp. Like a wobbly mirror. In order for the original images to properly align they would have had to been scanned rather than photographed since even a slight change would result in two different photographs of the same thing being "off" or un-aligned. Even a different lens would cause an optical distortion between two photographs taken of the same image from the same spot.

Even though these photographs of the Last Supper were before the most recent restoration you will still notice how different they are all from each other. This is not only the result of different cameras and quality of the digital images themselves but from the lighting, and the time taken between each. The painting has changed quite a bit even without any man made interactions. Weather - moisture, light, and even wars have altered the paint.

This brings about an interesting conundrum - when we consider the idea of "The Last Supper" by Leonardo da Vinci - which version of the painting is the most true? Is it the one that is there today – how it currently looks and what you would see if you were there this very second – the most recent? Or is it how it appeared the instant after Leonardo left his last brush stroke? Given that it started to deteriorate during his life time – and that it has been altered continuously throughout the last 500 years – what version or instance represents “The Last Supper” as a work of art the most completely? It seems there was the finished painting – as Leonardo himself intended for it to look. Then how it appears right this moment (live) and the third is an amalgamation of its entire existence combined into more of an idea rather than an actual image. From its inception – its production (as he was painting it and changing his mind and working on it) and then how it has changed naturally and artificially over time. The image that would best represent the image itself would actually not be a single image but a time-lapse of every instance that it has been in existence. Unfortunately that is not possible and photography wasn’t even available until recently so we are left with only a handful of photographs of the painting since it’s invention. This time lapse could also be represented in a single image – where by each instance (frame) ((picture)) available of the painting is combined into a single version. That is what this video represents – a combination of the photographs of the painting before it was restored. If I was to combine them into a single image – that would be another representation
as well.



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