Newly Discovered “Last Supper” Metalcut Appears to Reveal Da Vinci Honoring Ancient Gem Engraver Apelles

Micro engravings found in metalcut Plate of the “Last Supper” point to Da Vinci’s abilities as a jewel engraver and master artist

Newly Discovered "Last Supper" Metalcut Appears to Reveal Da Vinci Honoring Ancient Gem Engraver Apelles (Photo: Business Wire)

BOSTON--()--Further observation of a recent discovery of a Renaissance metalcut Plate of Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Last Supper,” brought forth by art scholar and Harvard Art Fellow James Constable, reveal micro engravings – a technique most commonly used by highly skilled jewelers. Made famous by world renowned ancient Greek gem engraver Apelles, micro engravings on the metalcut are believed to have been crafted by Da Vinci and can be seen on the metalcut in a magnified state. Also found in the metalcut, as a way of paying respect to Apelles, is the side profile of Greek orator Demosthenes, the face of whom Apelles carved into a Ruby ring now preserved at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Leonardo Da Vinci was identified as “Apelles” in the Medici Florence Court, as well as in the Milan Court of the Duke of Sforza, indicating an important association between Apelles, the ancient painter and engraver, and Da Vinci, the engraver and artist of Florence and Milan.

“It has been a humbling and wonderful experience studying this magnificent piece of art and exploring the symbolism and sublayers of the artifact,” said Constable. “I look forward to continuing to uncover the intricacies and mysteries of this masterpiece, and I invite scholarly discussion on the plate and hope others to join me in my research.”

An art technique dating to the 15th century, metalcuts are a rare form of relief printing created by engraving lines that serve as sublayers of the final masterpiece, which would then be painted onto a mural surface – using the metalcut as a guide. Only around 700 metalcuts exist in the world today.

About James Constable
Constable began art career by collecting art prints of John Constable, 18th century painter and member of his ancestral family. Constable brought his work to the Harvard University Fogg Art Museum, where it is now on display in the Harvard Art Museum Online Collections. Constable is a Harvard Art Museums Patron Fellow (2015), Harvard University Fellow (2015), Visiting Researcher for Harvard College Library (2015) and Fogg Art Museum, Harvard Art Museums Member, Collections Online.

Contacts

For James Constable
Lauren Mucci, 617-646-3317
lmucci@schneiderpr.com

Release Summary

Further observation of a recent discovery of a Renaissance metalcut Plate of Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Last Supper” reveal micro engravings – a technique most commonly used by highly skilled jewelers.

Contacts

For James Constable
Lauren Mucci, 617-646-3317
lmucci@schneiderpr.com