Bassano (Jacopo dal Ponte), The Last Supper

Venice, 1547-48
Oil on canvas
Accademia Gallery, Venice

In the 16th century, especially in Venice, many Last Supper images departed from the horizontal formality exemplified by Da Vinci's version, making the characters more active and dressing them as contemporary working-class types in bare feet. Bassano was an early adopter of this iconography. While the young John dozes off in the middle and a darkened Judas glowers from the far right corner the other Apostles argue about who among them would betray Jesus. Their dispute is doubled by the fighting that seems imminent below, as a cat slinks in toward a sleeping dog. Meanwhile, at the apex of the painting's triangular arrangement a serene Jesus returns the viewer's gaze.

Front and center on the table is a beaker of wine, whose red color shadowed on the tablecloth calls to mind the blood that will be shed tomorrow and will mix with water pouring from Jesus' side. That water is itself symbolized by the ewer on the floor, whose shape echoes that of the beaker.

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Photographed at Venice's Accademia Gallery by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.