World's Best Paintings of the Last Supper


   Luke 22:19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
  Gemäldegalerie, Berlin
 

 

The person leaving the room is probably Judas. Most of the apostles are standing, rather than sitting or reclining.

 

There is hardly any food on the table. There is no logical explanation as to why one of the apostles is sitting on the front side of the table.

   Louvre Museum

 

Apostles are sitting on stools, rather than recliners or triclinium. Lack of study on the Roman furniture the rich used during the time of Jesus.

The apostle in red on the right may be John, but who Judas is unclear. A lamp is missing.

 

Not much food on the table. John is on the left and Judas on the right of Jesus. Apostles do not seem to be there for a meal.

 

Eucharist occurred around the table, rather than in front.

  Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna

 

No halos for Jesus and the apostles are suggested in the Bible. Halos should be spherical around each head, not disc shaped.

 

Apostles are either standing or sitting on chairs. Lack of study on the Roman furniture.

   The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

 

Half a circle is ill-suited for the subject.

 Judas is pondering as to the best time for his departure.
   Tokyo Art Museum

 

Not many apostles are paying attention to Jesus.

   Alte Pinakothek, Munich

 

One apostle is taking a nap, not suggested by the Gospels.

  Detroit Institute of Art

 

The table is not U-shaped, but a semicircle. The recliners are not a triclinium.

   The Church of San Stae, Venice

 

Too many people in the Upper Room.

One long table is hardly adequate for his farewell address and teachings.

Jesus is the one in red serving food to an apostle. It is not clear who are the apostles.

 #3 Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan

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Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper. (painted, 1495-1498)

Famous, but grossly inaccurate.

Jesus and the Twelve reclined, unlike the Western people sitting at the table as in this painting. This table was not a Roman furniture, either, nor did Leonardo da Vinci any homework on the Roman style furniture during the time of Jesus.

 #2 Gemäldegalerie, Berlin

 

Judas is the one without a halo.

 #1 The Trustees of Rutland Trust, Belvoir Castle, Grantham, UK
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Nicholas Poussin

The most historically accurate renditions of the Last Supper are two paintings by Nicholas Poussin. In terms of superb color and the mood depicted, the one in the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinborough is the best. (Unfortunately, photography is not allowed there.) It is worth a special trip, if you really want a glimpse of the Last Supper.

This painting from Olga's Gallery seems to be an earlier rendition, almost a practice, to paint the other. Nevertheless, this, as well as the other in Edinborough, accurately describes the furniture (triclinium) and posture of the Apostles.

Triclinium is a U-shaped arrangement of three Roman divans around a table. On the exterior of all three sides (hence tri) dining guests recline (hence clinium) on the sofas. The open side is for servants to serve food, and in this painting the servant is leaving the room on the left side of the room.

A roman dining room with a triclinium is reproduced here.

This is one painting in which apostles recline in divans, but there should be three equal-sized recliners or divans. Apostles on either end do not have easy access to the food on the table.