Apostle's head of St James the Great is for The Last Supper This drawing in red chalk and pen and ink displays the reaction of disbelief and shock in the most sensitive and perceptive of Christ's
disciples. The recoiling of the body and the open mouth are reminiscent of the reaction of Mary shown in many pictures of the Annunciation. In the final painting, St James' arms are outstretched in a gesture of surprise and
openness, as though caught in a cry of, 'How can this be?'
In this vigorous line drawing, the wiry pen line and the soft chalk produce an effect of youth, refined grace and beauty. The way Leonardo has shadowed the eyes as they look upwards from the tilted head makes the power of the gesture ever more telling. You can almost hear St James's gasp of horror at the suggestion of betrayal.
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