Well, isn’t it a pleasure to hear that Eataly, that fine purveyor of Italian cheese, charcuterie, and foodstuffs, is working to save one of the world’s masterpieces of artistic expression.
Perhaps you didn’t know, but The Last Supper—Leonardo da Vinci’s 29-foot-by-15-foot depiction of Jesus Christ and his disciples, maybe the most famous painting on the planet—is deteriorating rapidly, mostly due to the factors of time, humidity, wartime bombs, and the fact that it was once housed in a prison. Like Michelangelo’s David, with its fragile ankles, it may, or perhaps will, one day be destroyed beyond repair.
That is, unless a super-successful chain of upscale Italian grocery stores fronted in part by Mario Batali comes in and saves the day, which is, according to a press release, actually happening. Starting in 2019, The Last Supper will be protected by an “advanced air filtration system” backed by Eataly that will extend the life of the work for 500 years.
There is some science involved.
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.
No longer will The Last Supper “disappear more each day and with each visitor’s microscopic dust.” Next time you grab a porchetta sandwich at Eataly remember that that pig died to protect an Italian masterwork.