Latin America, Mexico, San Miguel de Allende, ca. 1880s. A very special retablo - unusual for its large size as well as its subject matter - one rarely finds The Last Supper depicted on retablos let alone in any Spanish Colonial art. Delineated in a colorful palette on heavy gauge tin, the artist has painted Jesus and his 12 disciples sitting at a long table that is positioned parallel and close to the picture plane in a coffered room. This relatively simple setting serves to emphasize the dramatic plot. We see Jesus who has just stated, "One of you is about to betray me" (Matthew 26:21) with outstretched hands at the center. Brilliantly, Jesus is both the psychological cornerstone and the focal point of the converging perspective lines. He is portrayed in a perfectly calm and tranquil manner despite his foreboding announcement. The focus is clearly upon Him, with holy light radiating from his visage which is further framed by the blue skies beyond the open window. Size: 20.125" W x 13.875" H (51.1 cm x 35.2 cm)
Meanwhile, the disciples, presented in four groups, display all matter of commotion with agitated gestures and expressions. Most significantly, we see Judas, the third figure to Jesus' right, clutching a money bag in his right hand and gesturing forward with his left hand. Just as in Leonardo Da Vinci's famous Renaissance painting of this subject (ca. 1495-1498 CE), the artist of this piece breaks with tradition by including Judas on the same side of the table as Jesus. He will of course fulfill Jesus' declaration, "But yet behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table." (Luke: 22:21). The artist rendered each figure with marvelous expressions, gestures, and voluminous garments. The golden chalice before Christ, as well as the plates and other table furnishings before the Apostles are delineated meticulously; and the space is defined with a valiant eye for linear perspective.
Provenance: ex-Silver Plume Gallery, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
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Normal surface wear and stains (probably from candle burning by worshippers) that are commensurate with age and pious use; however, the painting is remarkably strong with brilliant hues and vivid details. The corners/peripheries display expected indentations and perforations for former attachment. A few stains and one patch of old adhesive strip on the verso. The verso also shows nice age patina.