Locate a picture of Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper on www.artchive.com. See if you can identify the "secrets" concealed in the painting as they're presented in the book, such as Leonardo da Vinci's likeness, the knot in the tablecloth representing Mary Magdalene, a woman as the model for Saint John, and the dagger in Saint Peter’s hand.
Dine at an Italian restaurant, or set the scene with these suggestions:
- Uncork a bottle of Chianti (a red wine produced in Tuscany, the region that was home to Leonardo da Vinci).
- Look for culinary inspiration on www.simonsays.com, where a selection of cookbooks includes Every Night Italian and Williams-Sonoma Collection: Italian.
- Savor a slice of panettone for dessert. This cake is thought to have originated in Milan in the 15th century. It’s traditionally eaten during the holiday season, but your book club discussion of The Secret Supper is indeed a special occasion. Use the recipe on www.theworldwidegourmet.com, or purchase the confection from one of the gourmet food purveyors on www.amazon.com.
- Listen to Italian music; visit www.initaly.com for a list of suggestions.
The Secret Supper is filled with fascinating historical facts, such as how Friday the 13th became known as an ominous day and that aside from being an artist, Leonardo da Vinci also invented mechanical devices. Share with the group what you found to be the most interesting nonfiction fact, and why.In The Secret Supper Leonardo reveals that he painted his masterpiece a secco, a technique never intended to be long-lasting. He invited artists from France and Italy to view The Last Supper, and they in turn duplicated the work in churches throughout Europe. See if you can find information on how many replicas were made of the painting, and whether any are still in existence.