Leonardo Da Vinci used same model for Jesus and Judas for Last Supper


last_supperI’m sure we’ve all heard this story in sacrament meeting at least once. The story usually goes that Leonardo used live models for his painting, The Last Supper. He started with Jesus. It then took years (usually seven) before he needed a model for Judas. He then finds a bum-looking guy on the street (or sometimes a prisoner) and uses him for Judas. He later finds out that the Judas model was also the Jesus model, but had gone astray and hit hard times.

Unfortunately, it is probably just a good story with an excellent teaching point, but not true. There is no record of Leonardo using the same model for Christ and Judas. According to “The World of Leonardo: 1452-1519” written by Robert Wallace, “Leonardo did use live models and did look among local prisoners for someone to portray Judas, but did not choose the same person as used for Christ.” The painting took only two to three years to finish.

Da Vinci used same model for Jesus and Judas

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