The Last Supper

circa 1300

Place Made
Italy: Venice
Tempera and gold leaf on panel
framed: 11 1/8 x 11 7/16 x 2 in (28.26 x 29.05 x 5.08 cm)
Credit Line
The Samuel H. Kress Collection
Accession #

This panel was originally part of a group of paintings illustrating the life of Christ. The Last Supper was Christ’s last meal with his followers, the twelve apostles, before his crucifixion. The apostle at Christ’s right leans to accept the wafer of the first communion, which would become common practice in the Catholic Mass.

This unidentified artist is working in the artistic style of the eastern Mediterranean island of Crete, reflecting the dynamic, international artistic community of the port city of Venice. The flat stylization of the drapery folds and expressive white strokes of the men’s white hair economically communicate form and movement. Following the Byzantine traditions of Crete, the artist places the scene at a round table, while later Italian Renaissance depictions seat the figures at a rectangular table, in favor of symmetry and clarity.