The Last Supper. This dramatic gathering has been a source of inspiration for the visual arts. A great number of paintings depicting this Biblical meal were created by different artists at different times over the last thousand years. In various styles, these paintings depict Jesus with his disciples gathered around the table for their last meal.
Needles to say, these paintings were examined, analysed and studied in the smallest details. Nothing, it seems, escaped the attention of myriads of art critics. However…
From 1000AD to the present, the ratio of the main course entrée, size of the bread, and size of the plate have increased by 69.2%, 23.1%, and 65.5%, respectively.
Crespi’s Last Supper is a real feast with abundance of food on humongous serving platters. Psychologists believe that this increase is associated with the development of agriculture, expansion of the range of products and their increasing availability. In all likelihood, the artist was trying to portray the ideal feast according to the standards of the time. Today, though, we have surpassed them all. Our festive dinners would be the envy of any king of the Middle Ages.
On the most famous version of the Last Supper, Leonardo’s (1494-1498) scientists have noticed eel, served with slices of orange on the menu. This is fundamentally different from earlier works with a rather modest offering of food on the table — like in the work of Duccio di Buoninsegna.