The Missing Nail A vision by Peter Greenaway for Cassina on Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper

Cultural DNA


Cassina has always had a special interest in the cultural diffusion of the works of the architects and designers of its collections, promoting cultural initiatives and creating exceptional collaborations.

Today the company confirms this vocation with a new project by the British director and screenwriter Peter Greenaway. ‘The Missing Nail. A vision by Peter Greenaway for Cassina on Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper’ is a tribute to one of the greatest geniuses of all time, 500 years after his death.


Brilliant Leonardo meets the talent of Peter Greenaway


‘The Missing Nail’ is an unprecedented multimedia work on da Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper’ created and directed by Peter Greenaway for Cassina. The director has always been fascinated by this particularly rich in content fresco that has already been subject of various past works. His study develops with this multidisciplinary project that tells a unique story in collaboration with the Italian arch quintet Architorti who have composed a soundtrack especially for the occasion.


The short film and performance evolve from the missing nail, an imperceptible hole near Christ’s head in the centre of the fresco, where, during its production, a nail had been hung in order to attach a plumb line for Leonardo to level the work.

There is an underlying structured basis of mathematical calculations in the fresco that Greenaway also tries to integrate in the structure of his productions in an almost obsessive way.

Through light and perspective, the British director creates a pressing rhythm with a text narrated in first person. He highlights details depicted in da Vinci’s masterpiece, such as plates and dishes arranged just like the planets of the solar system, and finds links with contemporary architecture, including the disturbing citation of the Twin Towers. Construction and destruction, an infinite cycle that runs through human history starting from the One who wanted to redeem it in the Gospel narrative.


And so ‘The Last Supper’, an icon of classical Italian culture, is brought to life in a film. Peter Greenaway's voice is among the protagonists of this production and his passionate and, at the same time detached, lyrical and sometimes ironic participation further enhances the work.


The missing nail, from the screen to the carpentry workshop


It is difficult not to make a natural connection between the missing nail and the excellence of the historical Cassina carpentry workshop, where nails have never been used. Here the company bases its excellence on refined joinery to combine craftsmanship and the most sophisticated innovative technology.


The Missing Nail. A vision by Peter Greenaway for Cassina on Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper


Music by Architorti, text by Peter Greenaway.

Produced by Gianluigi Ricuperati / Institute for Production or Wonder.

Video, mixed media, musical performance, lecture, various lengths.

Performance communication and promotion, Mara Moscano and Silvia Viglietti 

Holland-Italy, 2019.


The short film is being projected at Cassina Milano from the 9th to the 31st of July 2019, from 10am to 7pm.

via Durini 16, Milan.