Last Supper

Whenever we think about religious art, Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper painting is always one everyone recognizes or remembers. I remember growing up always seeing it in my grandparents kitchen and through the years I’ve seen it hanging in many other homes and churches. When I was younger I interpreted it as a photograph of what really happened but as I got older I realized it was just one person’s idea of it and yet I still pictured the last supper to have happened that way and looked just like that.

da Vinci's Last Supper, men gathered at a tableI never thought too much about it until art history class; when looking at it someone mentioned that it’s funny that they’re all on the same side of the table, this was something that had never even crossed my mind. It’s so odd that that’s how they’re sitting, since if it was a real dinner everyone would be on both sides of the table, sitting across from each other. Now, I understand da Vinci probably did this for aesthetic purposes and so every apostle’s face could be seen, but I also see how unnatural that is.

In art history class we learned about another last supper painting and that was Tintoretto’s Last Supper which was done around 100 years after da Vinci’s The Last Supper. They are quite different; I was amazed by Tintoretto’s version because of the way you can feel the life and spirit in the piece. I had never envisioned the last supper like this because I always had da Vinci’s painting stuck in my head. In Tintoretto’s Last Supper the apostles and Jesus are still all on one side of the table but it makes a little more sense because there are workers in the area of the empty side of the table; it’s as if the disciples didn’t sit there so they wouldn’t get in the workers’ way. The light in this piece is just magnificent; the way it looks like wind or just rays of light and then you realize it’s angels and you realize those tongues of fire on the chandelier are the Holy Spirit. Another aspect I personally like about this piece is the halos; I normally don’t like halos in art pieces but I appreciate the style of these halos. They’re not so structured and harsh edged like a head piece, instead they’re more like beams of light shining from one’s head.

the last supper with light spirits and angels

I am by no means disregarding the beauty of da Vinci’s The Last Supper, I just feel as though sometimes we get stuck looking at something one way and one way only, when we should really be open to new perspectives. It’s funny how art can change our views on things, whether it be religion or worldly events such as war; art makes an impact on us. Art can mold how we look at the world. These two last supper pieces impact on the way I think about this event whenever it’s brought up. I also watched a movie, Son of Man, and the last supper scene in that was significantly different than either of these artworks. It was of a more poor Jesus with the disciples and him just sitting in a room no table or anything fancy; I think that was a good, new perspective I’d never thought about. We don’t know for sure how past events happened but art and film keep us thinking of all different scenarios; no ones right and no ones wrong it’s just a personal interpretation and I like that that’s allowed and expressed.

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