The Secret Supper
Milan, 1497: Leonardo is completing The Last Supper. Pope Alexander VI is determined to execute him after realizing that the painting contains clues to a baffling—and blasphemous—message that he is driven to decode. The Holy Grail and the Eucharistic Bread are missing, there is no meat on the table, and the apostles, shockingly, are portraits of well-known heretics—and none of them are depicted with halos. And why has the artist painted himself into the scene with his back turned toward Jesus? The clues to Leonardo's greatest puzzle are right before your eyes...
Tightly paced and atmospheric, The Secret Supper is a dazzling historical thriller with a unique vision of both Leonardo da Vinci's genius and his masterpiece—which you will never look at in the same way again.
Javier Sierra: The Secret Supper
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Reading Group Guide
1. Aside from his skill at solving codes and puzzles, what other methods does Father Agostino use in his attempt to uncover the identity of the Soothsayer and decipher the enigma of The Last Supper? How much does he owe to chance? What is the significance of Leonardo da Vinci solving the riddle written by the Soothsayer?
2. Were you able to guess the identity of the Soothsayer before it was revealed in the narrative? Once the identity was revealed, did you see clues and indicators that you had missed while reading the story?
3. Father Agostino and Master Torriani "both believed that the Soothsayer had left us this clue [the seven-line verse] in the hope that the Secretariat of Keys would solve it and communicate with him" (49). The Soothsayer had ample opportunity to reveal himself to Father Agostino after the inquisitor arrived in Milan. Why did he continue to hide his identity from Father Agostino?
4. Father Alessandro became "a dear friend" (79) to Father Agostino. Do you believe Father Agostino would have thought of the other man as a friend if he had been aware of Father Alessandro's true religious affiliation? Why or why not?
5. Why are the Dominican leaders so concerned that The Last Supper might contain hidden symbolism? How (and why) was art used to communicate ideas and beliefs to the people during the Renaissance?
6. Discuss Elena Crivelli's role in the story. Despite Leonardo's warnings, B see more