Brent Lewis Midterm Paper

El Greco’s “The Feast in the House of Simon” sparked my attention due to its similarity to the image in the Christian religion of the Jesus and the last supper. The layout differs from many of the other versions especially, Da Vinci’s version because of the circular layout of the image and the extra disciples. It places Jesus in the center of the image still much like the rest but the saturation of color and the emotions on the faces of the people in the image leads one into the story of the last supper. Still the most thought provoking part that makes me look into is the addition of the women, which I guess is Mary Magdalene.

The design of this image falls into atmospheric perspective with the capital in the background, yet still leading the viewer into the center of the frame which is Jesus. This allows the viewer to understand the important characters of the story.  The color that he is found in, grabs attention of the viewer. Judas also, is the only character, who dawns bright red clothing, pointing him out also as an important player in the image and story. The size of this image also brings the viewer into the painting allowing an intimate situation. Greco’s detail also bring another layer into the image because of the facial expression and the detail that was applied to the face and hand motions of Jesus allows the viewer to actually understand the moments happen and not have to think or wonder.

I consider El Greco, to take a small twist on this story by having 14 members involved and a woman. This varies greatly from the images and the story of this that I have grown up with. The usual is 12 disciples and Jesus in the center and also being Judas shown in some way shape or form. Still the basic elements are there, but the twist can almost change the idea of the moment if not for the standard Jesus in the middle. Also, with this image there is no bread or wine on the table and looks as if it is taking place feet away from the “School of Athens’ with the arches and concrete workmanship. This is different from my original idea of this, as well as the Da Vinci version.

El Greco’s circle style of this image brings an entire different realization to this. It still has the ability to circumvent the eyes of the viewer to come back to the center of the image and not flying off the canvas in a linear sense the ways that others present, but what I am getting from it, that El Greco wanted present a different take on this. By places these figures around him in this way, it rather lets Jesus seem as if he is not only the center of attention for the viewer but as well as figures that are in the image, which I feel many others leave on the way side. This feels as more of an accurate description of the moment. I mean, in the Da Vinci version, would everyone really be sitting on one side of the table, with the exception of Judas, staring off into space or would they be gathering around with the ability to look Jesus in the face at all times. The image feels more realistic and natural, not as if it is placed to become a work of art, but an accurate description of what took place.

El Greco’s version of the Last Supper, draws attention because of the colors, circular design and the natural view of this moment. It draws attention to itself for the before mention reasons and because it is a signature moment that everyone that has owned a paint brush and become something has at one time or another tried to conquer in some new way that fits their wants. El Greco successfully does his in all the right ways that not only bring attention to it, but also the story inside of the story.


One response to this post.

  1. I think you did a good job breaking down the effectiveness of composition in this piece. I agree, the way El Greco organized the scene and placed each figure successfully draws your eye throughout the scene drawing attention to multiple subjects. The color is unique, especially compared to other works done during this time period, and is used as an aid for the viewer to focus on several subjects and not just Jesus in the center. Good job!


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