Exactly what and where is it?
The Zappia sculpture is a 17-foot-long wooden life-size recreation of the Last Supper, based on the fresco by Leonardo da Vinci in Milan, Italy. Its 13 figures (Christ and his 12 disciples) were each carved from a 500-pound block of laminated linden. Finished, each figure weighs at least 200 pounds. The dinner table, its fabric upholstery and its arrangements are also made of linden wood.
This sculpture is located in a special viewing room at the Country Club Christian Church, 6101 Ward Parkway, Kansas City, MO, where visitors can view it during business hours Monday through Friday and Saturday and Sunday mornings. Your viewing room has glazed humidity, temperature and lighting controls along with a bench and a recorded message. There is a tour guide available for groups of around 12 or more.
Who sculpted it?
According to the literature published by the churches, Domenic Zappia came to the United States from Italy in the early 1900s when he was four years old. At age 17, his stepfather enrolled him in the Cleveland School of Art. He graduated from there with honors.
After much success in other parts of the United States, he came to Kansas City in 1926 to perform ornamental art in a large theater and elsewhere. In 1958, he was commissioned to make this large sculpture of the Last Supper for a proposed cemetery chapel in Charleston, WV. He completed it in 1962. However, the cemetery chapel was never finished. Then the sculpture was loaned for several years.
Story (I travel a lot).
After being viewed by 70,000 people locally in 1962, the sculpture was stored for shipment to the New York World’s Fair in 1964, where it remained for a year. After that, he went to Kennedy International Airport until 1972. During that interim period, two Kansas City civic leaders funded his previous church to purchase the sculpture from its WV owner in 1971. At that time, however, they did not have a place. suitable for storing that. So, it was exhibited at select fundraising events and in museums, chapels, a large church, and a university before arriving in its current home in 2000.
Zappia studied the Christian Bible regularly. He felt that he knew the disciples well. Therefore, he had his own ideas on how to make his features. His work is not a mere copy of the da Vinci fresco. However, his figures are placed on the table in the same way. Seen from the left, they are Bartolomé, Santiago the Lesser, Andrés, Judas, Pedro, Juan, Jesús, Tomás, Santiago el Mayor, Felipe, Tadeo, Mateo and Simón.
Zappia was happy the entire time while doing this job. He was inspired many times during the four years he worked on it. Furthermore, his prolonged ulcer disease did not bother him during this period. Furthermore, he finished the sculpture without chipping errors or self-harm, and without having to remake any of the figures with a new linden block.
Also, the linden wood itself gives a visual impact to your viewers. Linden is a fine-grained, fibrous, golden wood from linden trees. It does not chip easily. Thus, its brilliant appearance seen under soft lighting combined with the artist’s detailed, smooth and ingenious sculpting of the figure’s hands, clothing, facial and human features leave viewers in a state of awe.
Conclution. To answer the initial question, hardly. Because only a few life-size sculptures of the Last Supper exist, this one stands out for its realistic images. Also, like other artists who have divine intuition, Zappia was truly inspired for this work. For more information on wood carving, check out these websites.