The Lord’s Supper

by | Jun 11, 1997 | New Life

A story is told that Leonardo da Vinci painted “The Lord’s Supper” when living in Milan. Before he could paint the thirteen figures, it was necessary to find men who could serve as models. Each model had to have a face that expressed da Vinci’s vision of the particular man he would represent. Needless to say, this proved to be a tedious task to find just the right face.

One Sunday, as da Vinci was at the cathedral for mass, he saw a young man in the choir who looked like da Vinci’s idea of how Jesus must have looked. He had the features of love, tenderness, caring, innocence, compassion, and kindness. Arrangements were made for the young man, Pietri Bandinelli, to sit as the model for the Lord. Years went by, and the painting was still not complete. Da Vinci could not find just the right face for Judas. He was looking for a man whose face was streaked with despair, wickedness, greed and sin. Ten years after starting the picture, he found a man in prison whose face wore all the qualities of Judas for which he had been searching. Consent was given for the prisoner to pose, and he sat as the model for Judas.

Leonardo worked feverishly for days. But as the work went on, he noticed certain changes taking place in the prisoner. His face seemed filled with tension, and his bloodshot eyes were filled with horror as he gaped at the likeness of himself painted on the canvas. One day, Leonardo sensed the man’s uneasiness so greatly that he stopped painting and asked,

“What seems to trouble you so much?” The man buried his face in his hands and was convulsed with sobs. After a long time, he raised his head and inquired,

“Don’t you remember me? Years ago I was your model for the Lord, Jesus.” This miserable man had turned his back on Christ and turned his life over to sin and the world sucked him down to its lowest levels of degradation. He no longer loved the things he had loved before. And those things that he at one time hated and despised, now he loved. Where once there was love, now there was misery and hat; where once there was hope, now there was despair; where once there was light, now there was darkness.

And you, have you looked at your face lately?

Author unknown. If anyone has a proprietary interest in this story please authenticate and I will be happy to credit, or remove, as the circumstances dictate.

Thanks to Daren Bullock



The Lord’s Supper