Easter is the most important time in the Christian calendar. The week leading up to Easter has important commemorative events as well.
Palm Sunday (one week before Easter): Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem, riding on a humble donkey, cheered on by adoring crowds who hailed Him as their new king, the man who would restore the Jewish nation to its former glory and power.
Maundy Thursday (sometimes called Holy Thursday): On Thursday evening after the triumphal entry, Jesus gathered His disciples together to celebrate the Jewish Passover. This celebration, known as the Last Supper, has been featured in many famous paintings, scultures, and other art forms.
It was at this supper that Jesus announced to His twelve disciples that one of them would betray Him.
Leonardo da Vinci painted The Last Supper for art patron Duke Ludovico Sforza and Duchess Beatrice d’Este of Milan. The original mural deteriorated over time, despite multiple restoration projects. The latest restoration project was completed in 1999 after 21 years of work. Even so, some areas of the mural had so badly deteriorated that it couldn’t be restored. Instead, those areas were painted in lighter colors to show they were not part of the original mural.
The 15 foot by 29 foot painting can be found at Santa Maria delle Grazie, a monastery in Milan, Italy.
Friday of pre-Easter week is of critical importance in the Christian tradition, and it will be the topic of the next blog.