Search results

Start typing

This exhibition is in the past. View our current exhibitions.

The head of St Philip in the Last Supper


RCIN 912551

A drawing of the head of a youth, with long wavy hair, bending forward and inclined slightly away from the spectator. He is seen almost in profile to the left, with his lips parted and his eyes raised. The Last Supper, in the refectory of Santa Maria delle Grazie, a monastery church in Milan, is Leonardo’s greatest painting. It shows the reaction of Christ’s disciples to his announcement that he would be betrayed by one of those present. This drawing is Leonardo’s preparatory study for the head of St Philip, who gazes at Christ in dismay. Unlike the spontaneity of the head of St James (RL 12552) which was probably drawn from the life, the head of St Philip is a work of careful elaboration. This would appear to be the stage in Leonardo's creative process after a life drawing, when he fixed the image as the basis for subsequent work. The features have been idealised, taking the figure one step out of the real world and into the divine.
  • stamp, ER VII, crowned, in oval: Lugt 901

The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.