Ministero per i Beni e le Attività culturali e per il Turismo

Menu
You are in: Home / Museums

Museo del Cenacolo Vinciano

Milano

The Museum

The Museum of the Last Supper houses a mural painted by Leonardo da Vinci on the northern wall of the refectory of the Dominican convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, in Milan.

In 1980, the Last Supper, the church, and the adjacent convent were designated World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The History

Ultima Cena di Leonardo da Vinci

Ultima Cena di Leonardo da Vinci

Da Vinci’s patron was Ludovico Sforza, known as “il Moro”, the duke of Milan who undertook a renovation of the church and convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, a place of family celebration and burial.

The most famous representation of the Last Supper was painted over a timespan from 1494 to 1497. The technique used by Leonardo was not the traditional fresco but a “dry” method, i.e. colour mixed with a tempera grassa medium directly laid on the dry plaster of the wall.

The iconography was equally innovative, though. Leonardo chose to depict the most dramatic moment of the Last Supper, the one showing the reaction of the apostles to Christ’s announcement that one of them would betray him, focusing on the representation of the emotions.

The painting showed very soon to be extremely fragile and had already begun to deteriorate just a few years after it was completed.

In 1999, after almost twenty years of work, an important restoration was brought to an end, and revealed what remains of the original artwork.

The Building

Convento domenicano di Santa Maria delle Grazie

Convento domenicano di Santa Maria delle Grazie

The refectory in which Leonardo painted the Last Supper is part of the Dominican convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie.

The complex was founded in 1463, but it was in 1492, with Ludovico il Moro’s rise to power, that a campaign of Renaissance style expansions and renovations was undertaken in the great cloister, the apse, and the tribune, under the direction of Donato Bramante.

Beatrice d’Este, Ludovico’s young wife, was buried in the choir of the basilica, in a mausoleum created by Cristoforo Solari and subsequently moved to the Certosa in Pavia.

In 1943, during the Second World War, the church and convent were bombed. The refectory was razed to the ground and only the two end walls were saved: the one with the Crucifixion by Giovanni Donato Montorfano (1495) and the other one with Leonardo’s masterpiece. The work remained exposed for several days to atmospheric agents, which contributed to accelerate its degradation.

The heritage

  • Detail of the figure of Christ

    Detail of the figure of Christ

    The open hands, the left hand palm facing upwards, the mouth still half-opened: Leonardo depicted Jesus at the exact moment in which he utters the famous words: “Verily, verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.” From the sorrowful face of Christ, situated in the exact point where the vanishing lines of the painting converge, the reactions of the apostles spread out like a wave, in an intertwining of gestures and expressions that link them.

  • Details of the figure of the apostle Philip

    Details of the figure of the apostle Philip

    The apostles are arranged in four groups of three each, at both sides of Christ, in a composition that evokes the spreading out of successive waves, as if the echo of Christ’s words was reverberating on his disciples. Each one is captured in the moment in which he is reacting to the words of Christ: Philip puts his hands on his chest, bearing witness to his grieving innocence.

  • Details of the apostles Thaddeus and Simon

    Details of the apostles Thaddeus and Simon

    The two apostles, situated at the ends of the table, seem to repeat the words they have just heard, disturbed and incredulous.

Address

Piazza Santa Maria delle Grazie, 2
20100 Milano

Ownership

Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities

Tipology

No profit/donation museum, gallery

More info

Info

Orari di apertura

Monday: closed
Tueseday: 14.00 – 19.00
Wednesday: 14.00 – 19.00
Thursday: 9.00 – 19.00
Friday: 9.00 – 19.00
Saturday: 9.00 – 19.00
Sunday: 9.00 – 13.45

Ticket office closing: 18:45

Other info: DUE TO THE CORONAVIRUS EMERGENCY OPENING TIMS HAVE BEEN REDUCED. A MUXIMUM OF 18 VISITORS ARE ALLOWED INSIDE THE REFECTORY EVERY 15'. (Due to conservation needs, groups of maximum 30 people are admitted every 15 minutes. Visitors must show receipt of payment at the ticket office located at the entrance to the museum (Via F.lli Ruffini 2), and must be present 20 minutes prior to the visit time under the penalty of losing their tickets. ) Closed: Mondays, 1 January and 25 December, unless otherwise indicated by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism. For special openings, see the website of the Polo Museale or the MIBACT and the museum’s official social media pages.

Address

Piazza Santa Maria delle Grazie, 2
20100 Milano

How to get here

Underground line 1 (red), Cadorna or Conciliazione stop. Tram 16 (Monte Velino - Stadio San Siro) S. Maria delle Grazie stop. Bus 50 and 169, Via Boccaccio stop.

Contacts

+39 02 4987588
Per prenotazione: +39 02 92800360
cenacolo.direzione@beniculturali.it

Full ticket

€15,00 (including reservation fee)

Reduced ticket

€2.00 (+ €2.00 reservation fee), for Italian and EU citizens between 18 and 24 years old.

Free admission for: visitors under the age of 18, EU and non-EU
students (with list of names signed by the school)
teaching staff of the school (with certification issued by the scholastic institutions).
Free admission is also available on the first Sunday of each month and on certain special occasions.
For the complete list of free admissions, please visit http://www.beniculturali.it/mibac/export/MiBAC/sito-MiBAC/MenuPrincipale/LuoghiDellaCultura/Agevolazioni/

Booking

Mandatory

Accessibility

Accessible to the disabled.

Due to the great fragility of the masterpiece, visitors' entry is contingent. In fact, only 30 people can enter at a time, while the stay allowed inside the refectory is 15 minutes. The uncontrolled influx of visitors, in fact, would lead to an excessive increase in both relative humidity (with consequent effects of condensation of water vapor), and of suspended particulate matter (pollutants): serious threats to the delicate conservation balance of the work. Tickets can be purchased online here (follow address vivaticket)

Toilets

Present

Cloakroom

Available. NO BAGS OR BUGGAGE ADMITTED INSIDE THE MUSEUM