Last Supper of San Salvi
Cenacolo di San Salvi

The Last Supper of San Salvi by Andrea del Sarto



"In the old refectory of the Vallombrosan Abbey on the outskirts of Florence, Andrea del Sarto painted the life-like Last Supper, his most spectacular masterpiece and one of the most beautiful paintings in the world. The Last Supper was begun in 1519 and was finished between 1526 and 1527 and he painted it in so good a style that his work was held to be, as it certainly is, the most smooth, the most vivacious in colouring and drawing that he ever did, or rather that anyone could do. For apart from all the rest, he gave such infinite grace, grandeur, and majesty to all the figures that I do not know how to praise his Last Supper without saying too little, it being so fine that whoever sees it is stupefied.

It is no wonder that, because of its excellence, during the devastations of the siege of Florence in the year 1529, it was allowed to be left standing, while the soldiers and wrecking squads, by command of those in charge, destroyed all the suburbs around the city, and the monasteries, hospitals and all other buildings. These men, let me say, having destroyed the church and the campanile of San Salvi, and started to tear down part of the convent, had reached the refectory containing the Last Supper when the man who led them, seeing and perhaps having heard speak of this marvellous painting, abandoned what they had embarked on and would not let any more of the place be destroyed, putting this off till they could not do otherwise".
(Giorgio Vasari, 1568).

The same sense of awe also strikes the modern-day visitor who, finding himself in the evocative atmosphere of the convent, passes from the kitchen, with its enormous traditional stone fireplace, to the room with an elegant lavabo carved by Benedetto da Rovezzano, and finally enters into the huge refectory whose back wall features the Last Supper, painted with all the vitality of a theatrical show.

Andrea del Sarto - Last Supper
Last Supper - Detail
Last Supper - Detail
Last Supper - Detail
The Church of San Michele a San Salvi
The cloister of the monks
Hidden Italy * Bettina Röhrig * Logebachstr. 5 * D-53639 Königswinter * Germany