Morghen, Raffaello (1758-1833; Italian), after Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519; Italian)
The Last Supper 1800
Acquired 1872
Present location unknown

This engraving provided many in the 19th century – Goethe, for one – with their first and sometimes only idea of Leonardo’s famous fresco (extant, in ruined form, in the refectory of S.Maria delle Grazie, Milan).

Morghen, Italian but of German heritage, trained with Volpato. Having gained fame for his own prints after Raphael and others, he was selected to engrave Leonardo’s painting. In 1812, Morghen was feted by Napoleon in Paris; and, after the artist’s death, tribute was paid to “the imperishable glory of the illustrious engraver of the Last Supper.”

[photo: another impression: see references]


NGV 1894, p.110 (V.Buvelot Gallery, 2nd bay, no.51); NGV 1905, p.123 (V.Buvelot Gallery, 2nd bay, no.40) 

For Morghen, see Bénézit 9, pp.1320-21; AKL 20 (2016), pp.489-90;; and (including the posthumous tribute quoted above)

For a fascinating account of Leonardo’s fresco, including comments on Morghen’s copy (the basis, for example, of Goethe’s interpretation of the original), see Leo Steinberg, “Leonardo’s Last Supper,” Art Quarterly 36, 1873, pp.297-410, later published as Leonardo’s Incessant Last Supper, New York: Zone Books, 2001; see also Franco DeStefano,, first published May 2012, including the reproduction of Morghen’s print shown here. See also Haskell, Rediscoveries in Art (1980), pp.172ff. and fig.238 (Morghen’s print)