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Dinner and Visit to the Last Supper

As great lovers of Italian beauty, we at Eataly have decided to finance the restoration of Leonardo Da Vinci's The Last Supper, as incomparable artistic heritage.

"The Last Supper is a unique and timeless work of art and is characterised by an exceptional universal value", UNESCO.

According to UNESCO, “The Last Supper" (1494-1498), which Leonardo da Vinci painted in the refectory of the Dominican Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, is indisputably one of the highest expressions of art in the world. Its unique value, which over the centuries has had a significant influence in the field of figurative arts, is inseparable from the architectural compendium in which it was created: The Last Supper is a unique and timeless work of art and is characterised by an exceptional universal value". In 1980 the Museo del Cenacolo Vinciano was recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

A risk we do not want to take

From 1498 (the year in which it was completed) until today, Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper has undergone several restorations. The technique used to paint the masterpiece is extremely fragile and continues to slowly deteriorate. This is due to the fine dust that each of the 400,000 people who see the painting each year brings with them, thus running the eventual risk of depriving our country and the whole world of one of its most extraordinary masterpieces.

Extending the life of The Last Supper

In 2017, the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Activities and Tourism launched an impressive environmental restoration effort which today allows about 10,000 m³ of new, clean air to be introduced into the refectory of Santa Maria delle Grazie every day, compared to the approximately 3,500 m³ that were previously introduced. Several research institutes (ISCR, CNR, Milan Polytechnic Institute, Milan Bicocca University) worked together to develop the project, coordinated by the Arts Council, Divisione Arte and Cultura di Aragorn, which will extend the life of the painting by 500 years, allowing a greater number of people to admire it. The project was completed in 2019, the year of the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci's death.

Eataly was the only private lender

As the only private supporter to finance an important part of the project, Eataly thereby created a synergy that has brought one of the masterpieces of Italian art to the fore of the world's attention. Eataly has created an awareness campaign with the Holden School entitled, A Dinner you Can't Miss. Directly in front of The Last Supper, Alessandro Baricco recounts how the work was created and invites everyone to visit the masterpiece.

We are making the work more accessible

The Cenacolo Vinciano Museum in Milan is one of the most important and visited cultural sites; it was ranked 14th in 2016. This position outside the top ten in the ranking depends to a large extent on the need to limit the number of visitors for conservation reasons. In the future, thanks to this action, many more visitors will be able to be amazed by this incredible masterpiece.

The fragility of the work

The fragility and vulnerability that distinguish the technique adopted by Leonardo (a tempera applied according to an experimental technique instead of the traditional fresco) has been evident since the period immediately following its creation. One fact is absolute: Leonardo da Vinci's painting has always had conservation problems directly related to the condition of its surrounding environment. Considering this fact, the internal microclimate of the Cenacolo Vinciano Museum (in terms of temperature, humidity, concentration of particles and nanoparticles, atmospheric pollutants and VOCs) is of crucial importance for the painting's conservation.

Control of environmental conditions

The Cenacolo Vinciano Museum has been known for decades to the international scientific community as an exemplary case in the study and control of environmental conditions for the conservation of cultural heritage, and the first HVAC system was activated there in 1995. Moreover, the international scientific community has now unanimously highlighted how indoor air pollution, biological contamination, mass tourism and variable microclimatic conditions have close relationships with the material deterioration of works of art.

The Culture + Enterprise Award 2018-19 wins the Cenacolo Museum project

In 2018, the project was recognized in Milan during the VI edition of the Culture + Enterprise Award in the Sponsorships and Cultural Partnerships category. Alessandra Pellegrini, Partner and Senior Advisor of Aragorn and creator and promoter of this partnership, received the award on the stage of Sole 24Ore together with Oscar Farinetti, Founder of Eataly, and Chiara Rostagno, former Director of the Cenacolo Vinciano Museum. The partnership has been recognised as a 2018 best practice in the world of communication and advertising.

 

"Thanks to this project, an increasing number of visitors from all over the world will be able to admire Leonardo's work without damaging it and causing it to lose its original splendour. In line with our corporate mission, we promote the excellence of our country in Italy and in the world."

Oscar Farinetti