Tintoretto’s The Last Supper

By Mike Shoopman

The painting that I chose is entitled The Last Supper by Tintoretto. This magnificent painting shows a great amount of detail and it seems to draw in the viewer more than Leonardo da Vinci’s depiction of this important event in history. In Tintoretto’s The Last Supper, Jesus is shown with a glow about him that instantly grabs the viewer’s attention and leaves no question about which person is Jesus. Each of Jesus’ disciples, except for Judas whom is kneeling on the opposite side of the table from the others, also has a small glow around their head that sets them apart from the other people in the painting. In addition to Jesus and his disciples, there are several other people in the room preparing the meal for Jesus and his disciples. Not only has Tintoretto portrayed the physical realm, he has also included a spiritual realm. Several angels are shown flying in the room, which along with Jesus’ illumination depicts his divine nature.

            This amazing work of art was painted from 1592 to 1594 (Matthews, Platt, and Noble 396). Tintoretto was in his middle 70’s when he painted it, and he died within the same year that he finished this great painting (Matthews, Platt, and Noble 396). Tintoretto’s the Last Supper is in good condition and is located in Sam Giorgio Maggiore Church in Venice, Italy (Matthews, Platt, and Noble 396).

            I viewed this painting in The Western Humanities: Fifth Edition on page 396. This magnificant work of art can also be found on the internet at http://www.artbible.info/art/large/353.html.

            Tintoretto’s The Last Supper is an oil painting on canvas. This painting is twelve feet tall and eighteen feet and eight inches in width. With the height of the painting being twelve feet, the individual on the right in the blue would seem to be about six feet tall, making this painting to be life-size if viewing it in person.

            The artist used several lines to show the light in this painting, including the lines of light extending from Jesus’ head as well as from the lamp that sheds light on the things going on in the room. In addition to the lines of light, the lines in the ceiling and the floor of the room pull all parts of this painting together. The floor and ceiling along with the action of the people and angels create a harmony and rhythm in the painting.

            The contrast in the painting has a great impact on this fascinating work of art. Jesus stands out from everyone else in the painting not only because of the large glow around his head but also his clothes are brightly lit from head to toe. The long table that Jesus and his disciples are gathered around carries my eyes from the foreground to the background. The front edge of the table also carries my eyes up to the angels in the right upper corner.

            Tintoretto has done an excellent job creating a sense of depth in this painting by using the linear perspective. The linear perspective is evident in the painting by the decreasing size of the people and the table as they seem to increase in distance from the viewer. Another example of the linear perspective is that in the back of the room the entire height of the room is visible but in the front, where the lamp is, the ceiling is not visible.

Tintoretto’s rendition of The Last Supper is amazing. I find the contrast and the action in the painting drawing me in as if I were standing in the corner of the room at this point in time.    

Works Cited

“The Last Supper.” Art and the Bible. N.p. 2005. Web. 14 Mar. 2011.

Matthews, Roy T., F. DeWitt Platt, and Thomas R.X. Noble. The Western Humanities: Seventh Edition. New York: McGraw Hill, 1992. Print.

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Filed under All About Essays, Painting, Renaissance, Written By Students

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