Expressive Art Essay
“The Last Supper” found on page 101 is Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece created using tempera on pitch, gesso and mastic as medium. The subject matter of the painting, as the title suggests, is the last meal of Jesus Christ together with his twelve apostles. “The Last Supper”, strikes its audience with an instant depiction of the momentous scene where (through John) Jesus states, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me”. The last supper or the meal is characterized by the presence of leavened bread, fish, herb and wine.
In addition to this, there are twelve glasses and several plates present; all made from metal that untypically portray the supper of conservative Jews. All the items found in the table or supper are nonobjective arts; they do not represent any other objects. “The Last Supper” presents a pyramidal composition, where an impression of stability is presented to the audience. Twelve models representing the twelve apostles are divided into groups of three, each having distinct expressive characteristics. Bartholomew, James (the younger) and Andrew, found on the left side of the table, shows expressions of fear or horrification.
Andrew provides the most expressive reaction as he holds his hands up, as if expressing a gesture of “let’s calm down”. Judas, Peter and John form the next group, where Judas’ face is in shadow while cunningly holding a small bag which represents money or his betrayal. Furthermore, both Judas and Jesus reached for bread at the same time. On the other hand, Peter clutches a knife which is pointed away from the back of Judas while his other hand is placed on John’s shoulder. It seems like Peter is asking John, who in return leans towards him, “Who does he say it is?
” In “The Last Supper”, John is represented by an effeminate model or character due to his modest nature. Christ on the other hand, who is the only calm individual in the scene, is located on the center, serving as the center of balance between the groups of apostles who are in turmoil. Three windows are behind him, where the biggest is placed directly behind him, which may represent a halo. Four doors with varied sizes are placed on each side which gives an impression of space or point of view. Thomas, James (brother of Jesus) and Philip are seen next to Jesus. Thomas who is pointing upward seems to doubt the announcement of Jesus.
His other hand is placed on the table between the two apostles as if looking for solid evidence. James and Philip are stunned. James is observed to be looking at the left of hand of Jesus while Philip looked like asking, “Is it me? ” Matthew, Thaddeus and Simon, the last group, all looked surprised or startled. Matthew and Thaddeus seem to be asking Simon about the announcement, who in return answers with his hands showing a gesture of “I don’t know”. Contrary to Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” is Rembrandt’s “Three Crosses” created using drypoint and burin technique which can be found in page 78.
Due to the technique used by Rembrandt (with an emphasis on using lines), the print is black and white. By engaging on the colors used, a feeling or atmosphere of stark and harsh can be felt. This is an effective method especially since the subject matter is the dramatic death of Jesus Christ on the cross at Golgotha. Moreover, it is the narrative representation of “darkness covered the earth”, an account of the Crucifixion made by St. Luke. The colors or technique emphasizes on the representation of violence, sadness and hope during the said event. Black represents the dark, evil, lack of wisdom or ignorance.
Black served as the background, as if representing how darkness covered the earth. On the other hand, white represents light, the sacrifice of Jesus to save mankind or removal of darkness through Christ. The lines provide emphasis to the light which shined on Jesus Christ and the two murders. Moreover, the light seems to be descending from the heavens or from one light source because of the lines. On the contrary, “The Last Supper” and “Three Crosses” are similar, in the sense that both shows confusion among the crowd or apostles and Jesus Christ is the center or cause.
Reference “Art as an Expression”. (2008) Retrieved June 1, 2008.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 28 December 2016
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