Peter Paul Rubens The Last Supper

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The Last Supper, the final meal of Christ with his apostles, is monumental to all of Christianity. Countless artists have formed scenes of The Last Supper for hundreds of years, including many of the Old Masters. Some have shown the institution of the Eucharist; some have represented the annunciation of the betrayal of Judas. There have been many different compositions to exhibit Christ and the disciples, including the preeminent Last Supper of Leonardo da Vinci (Fig 2), from which many Last Supper scenes are based. Peter Paul Rubens included this abiding event in his ceiling paintings for the new Jesuit Church in Antwerp, which was completed in 1621. Although Rubens had studied and greatly admired the Last Supper of Leonardo, he does not show…show more content…
At the time of the Last Supper painting, the understanding of the Eucharist was the main dividing point between Catholics and Protestants. Christ holds the chalice in his left hand and holds the bread in his right hand. He is in the act of administering the sacrament. This was very uncommon as scenes of the Last Supper generally show the annunciation of the betrayal of Judas, or the blessing of the Eucharist. The importance of the sacrament is emphasized by the basket with bread and the wine jug on the steps at the base of the painting. In catholic tradition, the Eucharist is the name for the Sacrament, and it is believed that a mystery and a miracle occur, as Christ is literally present and contained in the bread and wine each time it is administered. In addition, the simplicity of the painting and lack of symbols and allegorical subjects make the catholic interpretation of the Eucharist more believable. It is easier to believe in the miracle of Christ being actually present during the administration of the Eucharist. Rubens’ portrayal of Christ administering the Eucharist was necessary during this time of religious war, as reformers questioned the understanding of the Catholic Church on this

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