The Leonardo Collection was designed as part of a special commission to celebrate the 500 year centenary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci.
I decided to focus my attention to Leonardo's The Last Supper painting commissioned in 1494. I’m especially interested in colour theory so the colour symbolism which has been widely researched by academics around the world stemming from this painting fascinated me.
Red and blue were traditionally seen as sacred colours by medieval painters and were often used to represent ‘good’ so it is of no coincidence that Leonardo chose to paint Jesus wearing red and blue robes. The red could also be interpreted as foreshadowing tragedy.
Green on the other hand was sometimes seen as a colour representing jealousy so it is likely that Leonardo chose to drape a green robe over the arm of Judas to represent his betrayal.
Then I looked at how Leonardo applied his paint, in particular his use of sfumato, a technique used to soften the transition between two colours (fumato meaning smoke in Italian). It is a way of transitioning colours in a soft way where one colour fades out and transitions or tapers into another. Coincidentally this was the effect I use in the Horizon Collection.
I chose to study the rich jewel-like colours Leonardo used - the colours of the original painting before it faded into the plaster walls of the Santa Marie delle Grazie Monastery in Milan.
The blue tie references the colour of the robes Jesus was wearing in The Last Supper painting. The tie has a blue blade - a colour widely seen in religion as representing sky, heaven, eternity and spiritual life. From the tail end of the tie, I’ve chosen red which will bleed into the eternal blue and meet half way creating lilac overtones which represents in many religious purification, redemption, personal sacrifice, resurrection, peace, wisdom and loyalty.
The red tie represents the robes Judas was wearing - the blade will be red representing danger and will fuse into green representing jealousy - the colours Leonardo carefully chose for Judas.
By printing on silk, the colours catch the light beautifully and conveys a great depth which will change in different light conditions as the tie is worn from morning through to night.