Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Last Super

It’s Holy Thursday of Easter week and I have had blog Idea’s, and theme’s just pouring out of my head for weeks, on all sorts of topics that I hope to find time to explore and expand on…. and a few of these will tie together for a Easter series  

Remember I have no agenda to my blog, it’s just a way for me to do a little self-discovery and if someone grabs something to think on, or about, that helps them… cool.

With it being Easter, several things I would like to write on but… I don’t want to focus on the things you might think would customary not wanting to sound “Churchy” or more honestly… hypocritical, but with this season, no way I can keep from expounding on certain things…

Today I would like to share a story, which was one of my mother’s favorites, which she would share around Easter. 
The story of The Last Supper, which would have, took place today,  Holy Thursday of Passover week.

No, not Jesus predicting his betrayal or the apostles denying him, not the first communion, but; The painting of The Last Supper, by Leonardo Da Vinci.



Duke Ludovico Sforza of Milan, Italy commissioned Da Vinci for the work. The paining represents The Last Super from the final days of Jesus as it is told in John 13:21. The work was painted on a wall 15 by 29 feet; this was a major undertaking and is some have the event recorded to have taken better than seven years to complete…

Think about this, if you or I told a client a project would take seven years to complete… We would never get the chance… Folk’s back then must have had way more patience that we do as a society now.

The story goes that Da Vinci searched personally for live models to represent each of the12 Apostles and Christ… Di Vinci had the models sit in the hall where the mural was panted. For each person in the painting a model would have set for about six months while his likeness was created to represent someone in the painting.

The first person Da Vinci sought out was a model of Jesus, who, the story tells was quite difficult to find…Because of the artists desire to find a model who was not only beautiful to represent the Son Of Man, but someone who was pure of heart, and whose life was not scared by sin, the story goes that hundreds and hundreds of men were carefully viewed before the young man who would serve as the model of Jesus was decided on…..

Kind of like the modern day casting call…guessing none of them had 8x10 glossy headshots however….

Da Vinci found who he was looking for in a young man, 19 years of age whom he models Christ’s likeness off of. For six months he stared upon his face studying the shape and contour of his face to transpose it to the mural.

After the likeness of Jesus was complete the artist continued the process of painting each the twelve apostles, one by one until the last to be completed was the image of Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus with a kiss, for thirty pieces of silver.

Da Vinci wanted a special model for Judas just like with Jesus, he searched at length for just the right model whose image would allow for a likeness that would show the soul of the man who would betray his best friend, then sink into state of madness, and who would take his own life for the evil he committed.  The search was for a man who was hard of heart and callous, whose face would be marked with scars, whom had deceit and treachery written on his face.

Word came to Da Vinci the man he sought was murderous, drunkard whose life was filled with crime and evil acts and was imprisoned in Rome, and that he was to be put to death soon for his crimes.

Upon arrival at the dungeon, the monster he had heard about was lead out for him to see, bound in chains and heavy guarded. In a glance the artist saw what he had envisioned, this was the person who he was searching.

This prisoner was dark and swarthy, he possessed cold, dead, eyes, long and unkempt hair partially covered his face, which cast the image of man whose life was in complete and utter ruin.

With permission from the king and under heavy guard the prisoner was taken to Milan and sat in the hall where the mural was being painted. Armed guards watched over him every moment in fear he might try to escape his fate. After six months under Di Vinci’s eye fixed on him as the master spent this time replicating the mans face and transferring his likeness to the painting, he took his last brush stroke and proclaimed he was finished then the artist turned to the guards and instructed them to remove the prisoner….

The prisoner suddenly broke lose from his bondage and the guards control, and rushed to Da Vinci crying and speaking for the first time  “Oh Da Vinci Look at me! Do you not know who I am? ….. Da Vinci look him up and down, the artist was taken back and perhaps even in fear for his own existence. We might imagine that his mind raced as he strained to remember who this was or how he would have ever known this monster.

Da Vinci Shouted  “No, I have never seen you in my life, until that day in Rome where you were led from the dungeon

The prisoner fell to the ground weeping…. And said “O God have I fallen so low?” Then lifting his head to the painter he cried out “Leonardo Da Vinci, look at me again for I am the same man you painted years ago as the figure of Jesus Christ.”

This man who just a few years prior had been perceived and painted as the likeness of Christ had turned to a life a crime, had became a cheat a drunkard and a murder was now resembled the perceived likeness of the most notorious character for that time, in the known world….

As I said in the being my mother loved this story… or should I say she loved telling ME this story. She was a preachers kid, and well, I don’t doubt she knew full well the trouble her son could get into if left to his own accord… It was for sure a cautionary tail meant to detour me from trouble…

You can look on the Internet and find articles calming this to be a true story and others denying its truthfulness…. But you can find claims online that will convince you Elvis, John Lennon, and Amelia Airhart are alive and well playing cards in a shared Cabana somewhere in the Caribbean….

Just as the man in the story fell into a life of trouble and trials, wrong decisions and taking the wrong path that can happen to us… but because of the events we celebrate at Easter a person can change the road or path their on…

This reminds me of a poem I heard in High School that I have never forgotten…. 

The Touch of the Masters Hand 

'Twas battered and scarred,
And the auctioneer thought it
hardly worth his while
To waste his time on the old violin,
but he held it up with a smile.

"What am I bid, good people", he cried,
"Who starts the bidding for me?"
"One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?"
"Two dollars, who makes it three?"
"Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three,"

But, No,
From the room far back a gray bearded man
Came forward and picked up the bow,
Then wiping the dust from the old violin
And tightening up the strings,
He played a melody, pure and sweet
As sweet as the angel sings.

The music ceased and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said "What now am I bid for this old violin?"
As he held it aloft with its' bow.

"One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?"
"Two thousand, Who makes it three?"
"Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
Going and gone", said he.

The audience cheered,
But some of them cried,
"We just don't understand."
"What changed its' worth?"
Swift came the reply.
"The Touch of the Masters Hand."


And many a man with life out of tune
All battered with bourbon and gin
Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd
Much like that old violin

A mess of pottage, a glass of wine,
A game and he travels on.
He is going once, he is going twice,
He is going and almost gone.

But the Master comes,
And the foolish crowd never can quite understand,
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
By the Touch of the Masters' Hand.
Myra Brooks Welch

1 comment:

  1. what a great post. have a wonderful and blessed weekend!

    ReplyDelete