Dig in: Various Last Suppers

When I say “Last Supper” most folks (and Google) conjure up this version:

Leonardo DaVinci's Last Supper

Leonard da Vinci, 1495

But the Passover meal that Jesus shared with his disciples is a scene that has been painted over and over throughout art history. I thought I would share a few (um, okay, a LOT) of those images with you today, Maundy Thursday, the day when Christians remember the meal referred to as the last supper or Lord’s supper. It was the last time they would all eat together, as later that night Judas would turn Jesus into the authorities in exchange for cold hard cash, and the following day Jesus would be killed. Easter, when Jesus rose from the dead, comes three days later on Sunday, but first there is a bittersweet meal, a tragic evening in a garden, a mob scene, a brutal death, and mourning. There are themes in art that get painted over and over again. Some come from classical mythology, many come from the bible and lives of saints, and some are more general, like landscapes, portraits, and still lifes. Since the Last Supper is one of those themes that is repeated from before the dark ages to the present day, it seems like a good way to traipse through art history. For those of you with a bit of art history background, I hope you see your favorite movements represented below. For those of you who don’t, I hope you enjoy seeing the ways Western art has evolved over the past thousand plus years, chronologically.

Sant' Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna mosaic's Last Supper

Sant’ Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna mosaic, 6th century

 

the Codex Purpureus Rossanensis's Last Supper

Codex Purpureus Rossanensis, 6th century

Giotto's Last Supper

Giotto, 1304

Duccio's Last Supper

Duccio, 1311

the Master of the House Book's Last Supper

the Master of the House Book, 1475

Hans Holbein the Younger's Last Supper

Hans Holbein the Younger, between 1497-1543

Andrea Del Sarto's last Supper

Andrea Del Sarto, 1525

Jacopo Bassano's Last Supper

Jacopo Bassano, 1542

El Greco's last Supper

El Greco, 1568

Jacopo Tintoretto's Last Supper

Jacopo Tintoretto, 1570

The Nain brothers' Last Supper

the Nain brothers, 1607

Gerbrand van den Eekhout's Last Supper

Gerbrand van den Eekhout, 1664

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo's Last Supper

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, 1747

Francesco Fontebas's Last Supper

Francesco Fontebas, 1762

Nicolai Ge's Last Supper

Nicolai Ge, 1863

Vasily Polenov's Last Supper

Vasily Polenov, between 1863-1927

Ilya Repin's Last Supper

Ilya Repin, 1903

Emil Nolde's Last Supper

Emil Nolde, 1909

Andre Derain's Last Supper

Andre Derain, 1911

Stanley Spencer's Last Supper

Stanley Spencer, 1920

Andy Warhol's Last Supper

Andy Warhol, 1986

David LaChapelle's Last Supper

David LaChapelle, 2003

 

Takashi Kogawa's Last Supper

Takashi Kogawa, 2011

What was your favorite? There is a gentle quality to the one by Hans Holbein the Younger (ca. 1500) that I like, and I’m really fond of the sort of impressionistic one by Vasily Polenov ( between 1863-1927). I also dig the more recent homeboy Jesus version by David La Chapelle (2003). Next week we’ll be back to talking more in-depth about one work at a time, but I hope you enjoyed this brief departure.

In researching, I came across an article about plate and portion sizes over the last two millennia using various depictions of the Last Supper. Turns out McDonald’s has just been following a well established trend…

If you want to see one more take on the Last Supper, this is different interpretation of a work by Salvador Dali.

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2 thoughts on “Dig in: Various Last Suppers

  1. I love it! I especially like the David LaChapelle version and Vasily Polenov version. The Polenov is so intimate….I feel like I’m looking in on a private dinner amongst friends. And lachapelle is so inclusive and sort of challenges the idea of what a modern day disciple must look like. But they all were great…and I enjoyed seeing the history of styles compiled in that way!

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    • We must have similar taste in art, as the Polenov and LaChapelle works are my favorite, too! I really like your take on how the LaChappelle shows what modern disciples are like. It is from a a series he did called “Jesus is My Homeboy” that you can on the artist’s website.

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