Del Cenacolo Di Leonardo Da Vinci Libri Quattro Di Giuseppe Bossi Pittore.

Giuseppe Bossi

RA Collection: Book

Record number




Milano: Dalla Stamperia Reale, MDCCCX.

Physical Description

263, [1] p., [7] pl. (incl. frontis.); 455 mm. (Folio.)

General Note

The plates are not numbered; but the 'Descrizione E Collocazione Delle Tavole In Rame' assigns them the numbers I-VII and indicates the numbered page following which they are to be bound, as follows: [I] frontis.; [2] p.102; [III] p.180; [IV] and [V] p. 204; [VI] p.208; [VII] p.231.


[Half-t., pl. I (frontis. port.), t.p., dedic.] - [Text, with pl. [II-VII]] - Annotazioni; [colophon]; Descrizione E Collazione Delle Tavole In Rame - Indice [i.e. table of contents].

Responsibility Note

Plate [II] (p.102) is signed as designed by 'L.V.' and engraved by 'G.L.'; pl. [VII] (p.231) is signed as designed by Leonardo da Vinci and made by 'R.F.'; the other plates carry no signatures. However, the 'Descrizione E Collocazione Delle Tavole In Rame' states that pl. [1] was drawn by Raffaello Albertolli and engraved by Giuseppe Benaglia; pl. [II], designed by Leonardo and engraved by Giuseppe Longhi; pl. [III], drawn by Cesare da Sesto and engraved by Giuseppe Benaglia; pl. [IV], drawn by Leonardo; pl. [VI], drawn by Leonardo and engraved by Longhi; pl. [VII], drawn by Leonardo and engraved by Francesco Rosaspina.

The printer is named in the colophon: 'Stampato Per Cura Di Leonardo Nardini, Ispettore Della Stamperia Reale'.


C. Cordie, 'Le annotazioni di Stendhal al "Del Cenacolo di Leonardo" di Giuseppe Bossi', in Ricerche Stendhaliane (1967), p.207-58; J.W. de Goethe, Observations on Leonardo da Vinci's celebrated picture of the Last Supper (1821).

J. Shell et al., Giampietrino E Una Copia Cinquecentesca Dell'Ultima Cena Di Leonardo (1988); M. Rossi and A. Rovetta, Il Cenacolo Di Leonardo: Cultura domenicana, iconografia eucaristica e tradizione lombarda (1988); S. Lambert, The image multiplied (1987), ch.7, 'Leonardo's last Supper in reproduction'; C. Alberici and M.C. de Biasi, Leonardo e l'incisione [exhibition catalogue] (1984).

M. Guerrini, Biblioteca Leonardiana 1493-1989 (1991); D.A. Brown, Leonardo's 'Last Supper': the restoration (1983); C. Pedretti, Leonardo Studies for the Last Supper from the Royal Library at Windsor Castle (1983); L.H. Heydenreich, Leonardo: the Last Supper (1974); L. Steinberg, 'Leonardo's "Last Supper"', in Art Quarterly [Detroit], 36 (1973), p.297-410.

Summary Note

The work is a study of Leonardo's painting of the Last Supper; which he painted on a wall (but not in fresco) of the convent of Sta. Maria delle Grazie in Milan between 1495 and 1497. This book was among the pioneering investigations of Leonardo's career.

The text is in four Books, containing: I. a brief life of Leonardo, and a compendium of extracts from various writers on Leonardo's 'Last Supper'; II. a description of the whole composition and of each person represented; III. an account of the copies of the painting; IV. remarks on Leonardo's method of painting, his study of human proportions, his excellence.

The plates show drawings: [I] male head (portrait of Leonardo?); [II] head of Christ; [III] head of a young man; [IV] head of a man; [V] head of a man; [VI] figure of a man with limbs extended within a square and a circle (i.e. the so-called 'Vitruvian Man'); [VII] the Christ-Child with the Virgin, St Anne and a lamb.

In June 1821 the Royal Academy bought an early full-size copy of this painting currently attributed to Leonardo's pupil Giovan Pietro Rizzoli (better known as 'Giampietrino').


13 February 1813: '[Produced] ... a bill from Mr. Turner Bookseller for a Work called Il Cenacolo di Leonardo da Vinci placed in the Library - amountg to £7.7.0 - Ordered that the Treasurer be desired to discharge the above Bill.' (RA Council Minutes V, 23).

'Paid Thomas Taylor, for 'Conacolo [sic] di Leonardo di Vinci £7.7.0' (RAA/TRE/1/2, 'Abstract of Bills ... Christmas 1812 to Lady Day 1813').

Binding Note

19th-century half calf, green papered boards; brown morocco spine-labele lettered 'Bossi. Cenacolo Di Leonardo Da Vinci', spine lettered 'R.A.'

Name as Subject

Leonardo da Vinci, 1452-1519., Last Supper.
Jesus Christ


Bible, N.T., Gospels
Lord's Supper in art - Last Supper in art - Saints - Apostles - Christian art and symbolism
Paintings - Drawings - Italy - Milan - History - 15th century - Renaissance
Art history - 19th century
Pictorial works - 19th century


Leonardo Nardini, printer.
Leonardo da Vinci, source artist
Raffaele Albertolli, draughtsman
Giuseppe Benaglia, engraver
Giuseppe Longhi, engraver
Cesare da Sesto, draughtsman
Francesco Rosaspina, engraver
Stamperia Reale (Milan), printer.