Domenico Ghirlandaio, The Last Supper

Circa 1486
Fresco, 157.5 x 315 in. (400 x 800 cm.)
Hostel Refectory, San Marco Convent, Florence

The fresco captures the moment when Judas (the only one without a halo) reaches his hand toward the dish on the table. This illustrates Matthew 26:23, where Jesus says, "He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, he shall betray me." Jesus' own hand is posed ambiguously, seeming both to reach for the dish but with the fingers positioned in the blessing gesture over the sleeping St. John. St. Peter sits at his right hand, identifiable by the short, square beard and bald pate. The other apostles do not have identifiers, although the one on the far right may be pictured as a beardless youth to distinguish him as St. James the Less, in Latin Jacobus Minor.

A painted crucifix directly above Jesus indicates his imminent death, and the peacock in the window at right symbolizes his resurrection.

The inscription on the wall behind the apostles reads EGO DISPONO VOBIS SICUT DISPOSUIT MIHI PATER MEUS REGNUM, UT EDATIS, ET BIBATIS SUPER MENSAM MEAM IN REGNO MEO, "I dispose to you, as my Father hath disposed to me, a kingdom; That you may eat and drink at my table, in my kingdom" (Luke 29-30a). The quotation is apposite in this room where guests are served food and drink.

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Read more about the Last Supper and about the peacock symbol.

Photographed at the site by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.