“The Last Supper”, Nikolai Nikolayevich Ge – description of the painting

Description of the picture:

The Last Supper – Nikolai Nikolayevich Ge. Canvas, oil. 283 x 382 cm

This picture was a real breakthrough in painting on biblical subjects and brought glory to its creator. At the same time, it generated a lot of controversy and became the object of rejection by traditional religious organizations, which are of the opinion that it is necessary to preserve the canon in such painting.

The painting was painted in Italy during the retirement trip of the artist. After his return to his homeland, the canvas was exhibited at the Academic Exhibition. It made a splash because of the extraordinary approach to depicting a well-known story from the Bible – the Last Supper on the eve of the arrest and execution of Jesus Christ. Traditionally, this event is portrayed as a solemn feast, and in the picture of Ge this is a more chamber, simple and modest event, although its powerful emotional impact cannot be denied.

It is this image style of such an important event that caused a storm of emotions. Until Ge, no one tried to convey the story as something everyday, understandable, simple. Basically, all the events that took place in real history, which came from myths or religious written monuments, were portrayed solemnly, pompously, even excessively decorated, with the introduction of realities into the older events of the author.

Ge’s painting is the exact opposite of them. Before the viewer appears a modest dark room full of people. The main character – Jesus Christ – reclines on a low bed with a roller, next to him is the kneeling John, his youngest disciple, and on the other hand, the apostle Peter. The rest of the apostles crowded behind Christ.

In the foreground, the canvases in the corner are a dark silhouette. This is the figure of Judas Iscariot, to whom Christ said that he knew about his betrayal. The alarmed disciples did not understand the allegory, but Judas knew exactly what was being said. For Ge, he was not a mere traitor who sold his teacher for money. This is an ideological rival, a person who did not accept the truth of the teachings of Christ."

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