The Last Supper

Object Details

Title:

The Last Supper

Artist/Maker:

Unknown

Culture:

Ottonian

Place:

Regensburg, Bavaria, Germany, Europe (Place created)

Date:

about 1030 - 1040

Medium:

Tempera colors, gold leaf, and ink on parchment

Dimensions:

Leaf: 23.2 × 16 cm (9 1/8 × 6 5/16 in.)

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In this depiction of the Last Supper, each element of the meal on the table has a specific meaning. The fish is a common symbol for Christ, the bread and the wine are associated with the Eucharist, and the pretzel is a symbol of everlasting life as its form was originally designed to recall a child's arms folded in prayer. The miniature accompanies the blessings to be said for Holy Thursday, which commemorates Christ's last meal with his disciples. At this meal, Christ anticipated his betrayal by one among the group. The unknown artist clearly identified Judas as the betrayer by placing him alone and without a halo on one side of the table, by painting his cloak a distinctive orange, and by placing a demon in the shape of a bird near his mouth.

Related Works
Exhibitions
Ritual Splendor: Illuminated Liturgical Manuscripts (February 20 to May 6, 2001)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), February 20 to May 6, 2001
Eat, Drink, and Be Merry: Food in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (October 13, 2015 to January 3, 2016)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), October 13, 2015 to January 3, 2016