In this book, the woman who restored Leonardo's Last Supper, Pinin Brambilla Barcilon, tells the story of the 20 years she spent working on scaffolding in the refectory of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, in a successful attempt to repair the serious damage to Leonardo's masterpiece, thus restoring it to mankind.
Starting at the end – the day of the inauguration ceremony attended by local dignitaries and the Italian and international Press – the story unfolds in a fascinating way, as the author describes the most important moments of that famous “challenge” which the author – still young at the time – undertook, spending much of the time in complete isolation. A lifetime spent beside the great master, employing the technical expertise she had acquired over the years but, more particularly, conveying the unbelievable sensitivity that has always distinguished the work of this restorer from Milan. Intense physical fatigue, legitimate doubts about how she should tackle the restoration, strong emotions and moments of discouragement, a gargantuan, meticulous undertaking, completed centimetre by centimetre for twenty long years until the sad moment when she had to abandon it, and the realisation, on May 28,1999, that the Last Supper would no longer be only ‘hers’. In the background are the people who made this extraordinary project possible: the enlightened patronage of Olivetti and the support of Superintendent Bertelli, who funded and protected Pinin Brambilla Barcilon’s work, enabling her to work in peace, amid fierce criticism and controversy.