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