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A Belated Easter Miracle? Saving da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper’

Last Supper

Last Supper

Yesterday, people across the world celebrated Easter by taking Holy Communion, a religious ritual that served as Leonardo da Vinci’s subject for his 1490s fresco The Last Supper in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan. Untrained in the fresco technique, da Vinci did a poor job of executing the painting, and it began to deteriorate during his lifetime. Since then, it has withstood humidity, a flood, and even a bombing during WWII, and remains a delicate work of art that without proper conservation will fade away.

Cue Eataly, a chain of upscale Italian grocery stores that is working on a project that may extend the life of da Vinci’s famous work by 500 years. According to a press release from Eataly, starting in 2019, the fresco will be protected by an “advanced air filtration system.”

To save this important piece of Italian heritage, the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism designed an air-filtration system in collaboration with top Italian research institutes (ISCR, CNR, Polytechnic Institute of Milan, and the University of Milano Bicocca). The cutting-edge system will filter in approximately 10,000 cubic meters of clean air into the convent every day (compared to the current 3,500 cubic meters), breathing five centuries of life into The Last Supper and allowing many more visitors to admire it.

Easter miracle? Or, you know, science.

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