The Last Supper scene was a truly Florentine tradition, found all over the city's monasteries from the 1300s to the late 1500s.
... more » This themed itinerary will have you searching through some of Florence's oldest churches to view just a selection of the Last Suppers of some of the most famous Renaissance artists. It is essentially a journey through the history of Florentine painting.
The Florentine Last Suppers were aptly painted in the refectories (eating halls) of monasteries and convents, where the monks could reflect silently at every meal on this scene of Jesus eating the last supper before his death with his 12 apostles and disciples.
Bread and wine, symbolic of Jesus' body and blood, are always present at the table. Some time during the supper, Jesus reveals to his disciples, "One of you will betray me."
Often Judas, whom Jesus is referring to when he predicts the betrayal, is sitting on the opposite side of the table from everyone else, while one of the other figures, St. John, depicted as a young man (he was the youngest and most devoted of the apostles), is innocently sleeping next to Jesus during the supper.
In Leonardo da Vinci's famous and lively depiction of the Last Supper (painted in Milan 1495-98 after viewing some of the Florentine Last Suppers) he shows the reactions of each of the apostles at this very statement. less «