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Last Supper Paintings in Venice

LINK to Maps of Venice


Leonardo's Last Supper in Milan



Link to Last Suppers in the Refectories of Renaissance Florence







Some Major Venetian Artists


Giovanni Bellini

1430 - 1516 (86)

Vittore Carpaccio

c1462 c1525  (63)

Titian (Tiziano Vecello)

1485 - 1576 (91)

Andrea Palladio (Architect - Palladian Villas)

1508 - 1590 (82)

il Tintoretto (Jacopo Robusti)

1518 - 1594 (76)

Paolo Veronese

1528 - 1588 (60)

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

1696 - 1770 (74)

Antonio Canaletto

1697 - 1768 (71)


Artists of the Italian Renaissance     Paintings by Artists of the Italian Renaissance



Anyone used to the Last Supper Frescos in the Refectories of Renaissance Florence, will wonder whether their oil painted Venetian counterparts relate to the same event!  As elsewhere in this city of conspicuous display and consumption, Venetian Last Suppers are over the top celebrations of artistic licence, led by Veronese's "Feast at the House of Levy" .....


Veronese - "Feast at the House of Levi" - Accademia, Venice

This enormous and sumptuous "Last Supper" (5.55M high and 13.10M wide), now occupies the entire end wall of the huge Room 10 of the Accademia. 


It  was painted by Veronese in 1573 for the refectory of SS Giovanni e Paolo.  He was hauled before the Inquisition on 8 July 1573 and asked to explain himself ..........


Veronese - "Feast at the House of Levi" - Accademia, Venice

Q:   What is the meaning of those men dressed in the German fashion each with a halberd* in his hand?


A:  We painters take the same licence that is permitted to poets and jesters.  I have placed these two halberds - the one eating the other drinking - by the staircase, to be supposed ready to perform any duty that may be required of them; it appearing to me quite fitting that the master of such a house, who was rich and great (as I have been told), should have such attendants.


Q:  That fellow dressed like a buffoon, with the parrot on his wrist - for what purpose is he introduced into the canvas?


A:  For ornament, as is usually done.


Q:  Were you commissioned by any person to paint Germans and buffoons, and such like things in this picture?


A:  No, my lord.


Q:  Does it appear to you fitting that at our Lord's last supper you should paint buffoons, drunkards, Germans, dwarfs, and similar indecencies?


A:  No, my lord


* A halberd was a combination spear and battle axe



This was clearly not a meeting of minds.  The inquisitors suggested several changes to the painting, probably relating to the removal of Germans and buffoons etc, but in the end nothing at all was changed and a very Italian solution was negotiated - the work was retitled "The Feast at the House of Levi".


This account is taken from an accessible and very entertaining paperback book "A Literary Companion to Venice" by Ian Littlewood, which became our constant companion over coffee, lunch, drinks etc as we explored this fascinating and unique city.


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Veronese "Wedding Feast at Cana" - the Louvre, Paris


Should you turn your back on the Mona Lisa in the Louvre in Paris, you will come face to face with another huge and sumptuous Veronese feast  - this time the cover was the Wedding at Cana.  The huge painting was cut up and stolen from the Palladian refectory of the Venetian monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore by Bonaparte's men in 1797.  There is now at least an impressive reproduction in the original Venetian location.


 Veronese "Wedding Feast at Cana" - the Louvre, Paris






Tintoretto Last Supper, San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice



Back in Venice, measuring 3.65M by 5.68M, this slightly smaller work by Tintoretto, the Ghirlandaio of Venetian Last Suppers (in the sense of pervasiveness), is in San Giorgio Maggiore


Tintoretto Last Supper, San Polo, Venice

Tintoretto Last Supper, Santo Stefano, Venice


Two more modest suppers by Tintoretto - on the left in the church of San Polo, and on the right in the sacristy of Santo Stefano.


Last Supper - Byzantine Museum, San Giorgio, Venice
This much much smaller 1517 painting is to be found in the museum of Byzantine iconic art at the Greek church of San Giorgio




Last Supper, Dieric Bouts Supper at Emmaus, Carpaccio, San Salvador, Venice


Not in Venice, but just for interest and style contrast here is a Flemish Last Supper painted in the 1400s by Dieric Bouts.


Back in Venice, not the last supper, but the one at Emmaus, probably by Carpaccio and certainly brilliantly restored and in the Church of San Salvador near the Rialto Bridge.  More formal but also just as exotic!  Venice was the numero uno maritime trading power of the Eastern Mediterranean for a long time, and the casts appearing in its art reflect the varied mix of people it came across.



Link to Last Suppers in the Refectories of Renaissance Florence



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