Essay On The Last Supper Painting

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The Last Supper Essay

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The Last Supper

The Last Supper was a very powerful Biblical event, in which Jesus and his disciples

gathered for one final dinner together. According to the Bible, important events took place

during the Last Supper, including an announcement by Jesus that one of his disciples

would betray him and the first communion. To artists in the fifteenth and sixteenth

centuries, it was necessary to give proper deference to such notable occurrences. Both

Leonardo da Vinci and Jacopo Robusti, known as Tintoretto, took upon the challenge of

recreating the Last Supper. While Last Supper by da Vinci and Last Supper by Tintoretto

are very similar in subject matter, they differ in composition, symbolism, and the choice of…show more content…

Da Vinci has

arranged the disciples into groups of three and tied all the groups together through their

hand motions giving this piece a symmetrically aesthetic feeling. Your eye is taken on a

journey through the oval-shaped composition of the piece, but it is clear that Jesus serves

as the vital magnet. The Last Supper by Tintoretto is a beautiful Mannerist-style painting

in which the painter creates a revolutionary type of composition. The piece’s surface plane

now shoots in a diagonal motion and Jesus is noticeable only because of the light around

his head. There is a feeling of unsure commotion throughout the figures as they lean into

uncomfortable positions, such as the maid in the foreground. The figures also seem to

blossom in light through a darkness of the background. The two brightest areas, Jesus and

the light fixture, fight for the viewer's attention and create a sense of uncertainty,

perfecting what the Mannerist’s set out to accomplish.

The use of symbolism in both Da Vinci’s and Tintoretto’s Last Supper is important

to the interpretation of each piece. Da Vinci is the first known artist to place Judas, the

disciple who betrays Jesus, on the same side of the table as Christ. This subtly symbolizes

the trust that Jesus shared with his followers, and it is more realistic. By placing Christ in

the center, as the focal

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

See works of art

  • 1975.1.369

  • 19.76.3

  • 51.90

  • 17.142.2

  • 17.142.3

  • 10.45.1

  • 17.142.1

  • 2000.328a,b


Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History


A Bear Walking


Head of a Woman in Profile to Lower Left


Head of the Virgin in Three-Quarter View Facing Right


Allegory on the Fidelity of the Lizard (recto); Design for a Stage Setting (verso)


The Head of a Grotesque Man in Profile Facing Right


Head of a Man in Profile Facing to the Left


Compositional Sketches for the Virgin Adoring the Christ Child, with and without the Infant St. John the Baptist; Diagram of a Perspectival Projection (recto); Slight Doodles (verso)


Studies for Hercules Holding a Club Seen in Frontal View, Male Nude Unsheathing a Sword, and the Movements of Water (recto); Study for Hercules Holding a Club Seen in Rear View (verso)


© 2000–2018 The Metropolitan Museum of Art


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