Venice 1430/35 – (?) after 1494
The Last Supper
Oil and tempera on wood
26.7 x 75.3 cm
Gift of Catherine J. Tudor-Hart Estate, inv. 1972.29
Crivelli seems to have worked almost entirely in the Marches, in Central Italy, but remained proud of his Venetian heritage. While a crisp, linearism informs his style, he retained from his Venetian training a love of colour. The dimensions of this The Last Supper and the simplicity of its presentation and appeal to depth, are explained by the fact that it originally served as the central predella (lower section) for a polyptych. The original placement of The Last Supper may well have been as the centre predella panel in Crivelli’s dispersed altarpiece for the Cathedral of Camerino, commissioned in 1488. It would have appeared below the Madonna della Candeletta (Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan), one of his most celebrated paintings. All the while adopting a traditional arrangement of figures, he explored the individual responses of the Apostles to Jesus’ declaration that one of them would betray Him. Dark-haired, bearded, without a halo and with his back to us, Judas confronts a stern and authoritative Christ, whose gaze falls unflinchingly upon him. The scene is set in a narrow, theatre-like setting, with a direct, frontal perspective into the space, presumably for its setting directly over the altar, at the base of the immense altarpiece.