Meet and Dine with Ross King at Grano
Meet and dine with Ross King, author of Leonardo and the Last Supper at Grano Ristorante on Tuesday, October 2, 2012. Doors open at 6:30 pm, dinner at 7:00 pm.
Tickets are $100 per person (includes full meal with wine, a signed copy of the book, and all taxes). Please call us at (416) 361-0032 to purchase tickets, or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Early in 1495, as a French army rolled through Italy, Leonardo da Vinci began work in Milan on what would become one of history’s most influential and beloved works of art—The Last Supper. After a dozen years at the court of Lodovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan, Leonardo was at a low point personally and professionally. Despite a number of prestigious commissions, he had reached the age of 43—more than the average life expectancy for the day—without having completed a major work that fulfilled his astonishing promise. His latest failure was a giant bronze horse to honour Lodovico Sforza’s father. After he had spent the better part of a decade planning the monumental sculpture, his 75 tons of bronze were expropriated to be turned into cannon to help repel the French invasion.
The commission to paint a religious scene in the refectory of a Dominican convent was a small compensation for Leonardo after this dispiriting loss, and his odds of completing the mural were not promising. Not only had he never worked on a painting of such a large size—15’ high x 30’ wide—but he had no experience in the extremely difficult medium of fresco. He therefore had to invent a new and largely untried method of applying his paints.
Leonardo and The Last Supper shows how despite being frustrated by war and political turmoil, and beset by his own insecurities and logistical difficulties, Leonardo created a masterpiece that would forever define his reputation. But this timeless masterpiece is also very much a document of its time and place. The book reveals dozens of stories embedded in the painting, from the food on the table—a dinner of eels—to the hand gestures of the Apostles and the models used by Leonardo, whose mural was intended to celebrate the Milanese court. As King shows, Leonardo even included his self-portrait among the Apostles.
Many of the myths that have grown up around The Last Supper are wrong, but its true story is even more intriguing. Bringing to life a fascinating period in European history, Leonardo and The Last Supper presents an original portrait of one of history’s greatest geniuses through the lens of his most famous work.
Ross King is the bestselling author of five books on Italian, French, and Canadian art and history. He has also published two historical novels, Domino (1995) and Ex-Libris (1998), and edited a collection of Leonardo da Vinci's fables, jokes and riddles. Translated into more than a dozen languages, his books have been nominated for a National Book Critics' Circle Award, the Charles Taylor Prize, and the National Award for Arts Writing. He has won both the Governor General's Award in Canada (for The Judgment of Paris) and the BookSense Non-Fiction Book of the Year in the United States (for Brunelleschi's Dome).
Born and raised in Canada, Ross has lived in England since moving to London for post-doctoral studies in 1992. He has lectured widely in both Europe and North America, including at events at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Smithsonian, the Aspen Institute, and the Frick Collection. He has also given lectures and guided tours in Florence, Rome, Paris, and Giverny. He lives near Oxford with his wife Melanie, also a writer and historian.