Titian 1487/90 – 1576

Supper at Emmaus

oil on canvas (169 × 244 cm) — c. 1530 - 1535 Museum Musée du Louvre, Paris

Titian biography

This work is linked to Luke 24:31

Tags: Emmaus

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When the man in the middle takes the bread in his left hand and begins to share it, his fellow travellers suddenly recognize him as their deceased master. Titian captured the startling moment.

On the table are the ingredients of the Eucharist: bread and wine. The crisp white tablecloth strengthens the suggestion of a church altar.

The blue flowers on the table are borage flowers. In Venice they were used to add a fresh flavour to wine and salads.

The dog under the table may refer to a passage in Matthew 15. There a non-Jewish woman tells Jesus that even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall of his table, suggesting that he may be relevant to non-Jews as well. The dog is playing with a cat: a playful detail, unusual for Titian.

The canvas was probably ordered by the Maffei family of Verona.

The Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool has an almost identical work, on loan from the collection of the Earl of Yarborough. It was probably executed by assistants in Titian's workshop.

The Judas in Leonardo's Last Supper may have served as an example for the man in green on the left. Some 70 years later Caravaggio would use Titian's composition in his Supper at Emmaus.

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