Food - Drink
The Strange Dish Depicted In Leonardo Da Vinci's The Last Supper
Given its fame today, it may surprise you that “The Last Supper” by Leonardo Da Vinci began deteriorating as far back as 1517, and the food on the table in front of Jesus and his disciples was unidentifiable for centuries. Restoration of the painting began in 1997, revealing new and puzzling discoveries about the food depicted in the artwork.
Though Jesus and his disciples are celebrating Passover in the supper, the meal depicted is not accurate to a Passover spread and instead uses food from Da Vinci's time, including a peculiar seafood dish. This dish was thought to be fish, a common symbol in Christian art, until 2008, when art professor John Varriano revealed the true answer.
Varriano discovered that the dish is actually eel garnished with citrus fruit, likely lemon or orange, and a recipe in a cookbook from Da Vinci’s own library supports this finding. The book offers two different ways to prepare the dish by either spit-roasting the eel or boiling it, and the result is almost identical to the dish on the Last Supper table.