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Mona Lisa and the Last Supper Paintings Compare and Contrast Essay


Leonardo Da Vinci is one of the greatest artists in history whose artistic paintings are very popular around the world. Mona Lisa and the Last Supper paintings are among the best paintings in his collection. Da Vinci’s curiosity and imagination influenced most of his artistic expressions.

Da Vinci’s artistic prowess is manifested in Mona Lisa and the Last Supper paintings. The two paintings put Da Vinci on the world map and until now he is regarded as the best painter of all time. Historical sources reveal that Da Vinci did not work on the two paintings during the same time.

Da Vinci painted the Last Supper painting before he started working on the Mona Lisa painting. The events in the renaissance period influenced the majority of Da Vinci’s paintings including Mona Lisa and the Last Supper. This paper will compare and contrast Mona Lisa and the Last Supper paintings done by Leonardo Da Vinci.

The Last Supper painting was specifically done for Da Vinci’s master known as Duke Ludovico. The Last Supper is a sacred painting that represents the last meeting that Jesus held with his disciples a few moments before his death.

The painting shows Jesus taking the last supper with his disciples as he disclosed to them who among his disciples would betray him. The painting is influenced by the chronology of Jesus that is recorded in the book of John chapter 13.

On the other hand, Mona Lisa is a secular painting that depicts an Italian woman with a very attractive smile seated on an arm chair. The woman has an enigmatic expression on her face.

The identity of the woman in the painting is not exactly known but sources suggest that the woman in the Mona Lisa painting is Lisa Del Giocondo who was the wife of a rich Italian merchant.

The Mona Lisa painting was the most poplar painting across the world compared to the Last Supper painting. The Mona Lisa painting was later displayed permanently in a Paris museum.

The naming of Mona Lisa and the Last Supper paintings is based on the themes represented in the paintings and situations at the time. The specific themes that Da Vinci wanted to communicate to his audience influenced the naming of the two paintings.

Mona Lisa and the Last Supper paintings portray ancient cultural issues. The Last Supper painting depicts Jesus and his disciples who were Jews sharing a meal during the ancient Passover festival. The ancient Jewish culture is therefore represented fully in the Last Supper painting.

The Passover festival is among the most important aspects of the Jewish culture because Jews commemorate their deliverance from slavery in Egypt. Jesus shares a meal with his twelve disciples as part of the Jewish religious customs.

On the hand, the Italian culture is fully represented in the Mona Lisa painting. Da Vinci began painting in Italy and this is why the majority of his paintings including Mona Lisa portray an Italian culture.

Da Vinci later moved to France but his love for the Italian culture was always portrayed in his paintings. Historical sources reveal that the woman in the Mona Lisa painting was the wife of Francesco Del Giocondo who was a very rich Italian merchant during his days.

Lisa Del Giocondo belonged to the Gherardini family that marked the birth of their children with a special celebration. Da Vinci’s painting was a dedication to the Gherardini family during the celebration of the birth of Giocondo’s second born son named Andrea.

The materials on which the two paintings were made are completely different and unique. The two pieces of art portray the quality of Da Vinci’s judgment in choosing the right materials suitable for each type of painting. Da Vinci used the wood’s panel and oil paint to make the Mona Lisa painting.

The sfumato method of painting where the depth of a drawing is created using color layers is an ancient Italian method of painting that Da Vinci used to create the Mona Lisa painting.

The Mona Lisa painting is very unique and amazing because there is no hint of any brush strokes on the painting. It is sometimes very difficult to believe that an artist could actually do a painting with no brush strokes.

On contrast, oil and tempera were the materials that Da Vinci used to create the Last Supper painting. Da Vinci painted the Last Supper painting on a plaster and a stone wall. The tempera material used to paint the Last supper is a mixture of egg yolk and vinegar which were the most popular painting materials at that time.

Da Vinci Preferred to use a dry surface instead of a wet one to create a mural painting. A pitch was used to cover the Last Supper painting to cover the tempera use to create the painting. The oil paint common materials used create the two paintings. The materials used by Da Vinci to create Mona Lisa and the Last Supper paintings were the most appropriate at that time.

Mona Lisa and the Last Supper paintings have a subject matter and a message that the artist wanted to communicate to his audience. In fact, all of Da Vinci’s paintings have a subject matter and there is no way that Mona Lisa and the Last Supper paintings would fail to have a subject matter.

Lisa Del Giocondo is the subject matter in the Mona Lisa painting. On the other hand, Jesus talking to his disciple is the subject matter of the Last Supper painting. The style and size of Mona Lisa and the Last Supper paintings are very different.

The size of the Last Supper painting is 4.6 by 8.8 meters whereas the Mona Lisa painting is very small in size and is estimated to be 77 by 53 centimeters. The style of the Last Supper painting is a tempera variation that Da Vinci used to create a painting on plaster and stone.

The Italian sfumato style was used by Da Vinci to make the Mona Lisa painting. In the sfumato style, the artist creates imaginary expressions by blending light and shadow. The sfumato style comes out clearly in the Mona Lisa Painting where Da Vinci paints the eyes and the mouth corners of the woman by blending light and shadow.

This style makes some parts of the painting to appear different when observed from different angles. The painting style used to paint the two pieces of art is similar to that used by other artists.

The way in which the artist develops the subject matter in Mona Lisa and the Last Supper paintings is very different. In the Last supper painting, Jesus is portrayed as the main figure while his disciples appear as if they are shocked by the news that one of them would betray Jesus.

There is an expression of shock on the faces of Jesus’ disciples as a result of the announcement made by Jesus. The enigmatic smile of Mona Lisa appears very uncertain deu to the way Da Vinci develops the subject matter in the painting.

The woman in the Mona Lisa painting is depicted is a simple manner right from her posture to her dressing. The painting depicts a reserved woman in a wealthy Italian family. Da Vinci brings out the woman’s beauty in a simple but breath-taking style.

The facial expression of the woman in the Mona Lisa painting appears different when viewed from different angles and has made many people to question the sincerity in her smile.

The two paintings have some symbolism that Da Vinci uses to pass across his message. The bread that Jesus shares with his disciples in the Last Supper painting represents his body which he was about to give out as a living sacrifice.

The wine in the painting symbolizes the blood of Jesus that he would shed to guarantee humankind forgiveness of their sins. The Passover feast symbolized Jesus’ farewell party with his disciples.

On the other hand, the woman in the Mona Lisa painting symbolizes the wife of a wealthy Italian merchant known as Giocondo. The woman in the Mona Lisa painting clearly portrays how Italian women were reserved without any kind of sophistication during ancient times.

The reserved nature of an Italian woman is symbolized by the dressing of the woman in the painting. The woman’s eyes seem to suggest that there are some secretes inside her that provoke the curiosity of the audience.

The two paintings pass across some messages to the audience as depicted by the expressions and symbols in the two paintings. The symbols and expressions in the Mona Lisa painting pass across the message of simplicity, culture and beauty.

On the other hand, the symbols and expressions in the Last Supper painting pass across the message of salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ. The painting carries a message of hope to Christians and portrays Jesus’ death a positive thing for all Christians.

Da Vinci created Mona Lisa when Giocondo’s family was celebrating the birth of their second son. The Last Supper painting was made during the revival period when scientific inventions had taken the place of Christianity.

Many people had stopped believing in God and most of their attention had gone to science. The renaissance period influenced the messages in Da Vinci’s paintings. Mona Lisa and the Last Supper paintings depict the social, economic and religious events at the time Da Vinci was making the paintings.

In conclusion, Mona Lisa and the Last Supper paintings are among the best works done by Da Vinci. The analysis of the two paintings shows that the two paintings have both similarities and differences.

Da Vinci is the best artist of all time and his paintings portray his artistic prowess. The similarities between the two paintings are in the painting style and the use of symbolism. The paintings are different when it comes to the materials used, size, subject matter, cultural representation, messages passed across and the category of paintings.

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IvyPanda. (2019, June 18). Mona Lisa and the Last Supper Paintings. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/mona-lisa-and-the-last-supper-paintings/

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"Mona Lisa and the Last Supper Paintings." IvyPanda, 18 June 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/mona-lisa-and-the-last-supper-paintings/.

1. IvyPanda. "Mona Lisa and the Last Supper Paintings." June 18, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/mona-lisa-and-the-last-supper-paintings/.


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IvyPanda. "Mona Lisa and the Last Supper Paintings." June 18, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/mona-lisa-and-the-last-supper-paintings/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Mona Lisa and the Last Supper Paintings." June 18, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/mona-lisa-and-the-last-supper-paintings/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Mona Lisa and the Last Supper Paintings'. 18 June.

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