Leonardo da Vinci looms over the entirety of Western thought and culture, his unique genius informing and inspiring much of what we understand about the arts and about science. It's disconcerting to think that at the time he was hired to paint The Last Supper, he was a spent, middle-aged man who had little to show for all his early promise -- and yet that's how he saw himself. Art historian Ross King pierces the myth that has accreted around this famous painting and its artist and discovers the truth of da Vinci's long struggle to complete this masterpiece in his book Leonardo and the Last Supper. Delving into the significance of the food da Vinci painted on the table, the meanings of the Apostles' hand gestures, even the issue of da Vinci's own personal faith, King reveals much that's hidden in this immortal image of the most famous dinner party ever. King discusses Leonardo and the Last Supper at 7 p.m. this evening at St. Louis County Library Headquarters (1630 South Lindbergh Boulevard, Frontenac; 314-994-3300 or www.slcl.org). Admission is free, and copies of King's books will be sold on-site by Left Bank Books.
Wed., Nov. 14, 2012