Russian Art

Ge, N. N. The Last Supper. 1863

The Last Supper When it arrived in St. Petersburg from Italy, Nikolai Ge's "The Last Supper" (1863) caused an uproar among critics, who believed that it trivialized the Gospel story which inspired it. His interpretation of the scene strays from traditional representations, for he chooses to depict Judas leaving Christ and the Apostles moments after the betrayal. Inspired perhaps by some of Rembrandt's early works of the 1630s, Ge uses contrasts of light and dark to suggest the confrontation between good and evil. His dramatic lighting transforms Judas into a dark unearthly being who casts a grotesque and portentous shadow. By contrast, Christ and the Apostles are bathed in the warm glow of a candle, which Judas blocks from view. (00225)
Copyright ©. George Mitrevski. Auburn University.