(b. 1449, Firenze, d. 1494, Firenze)

Last Supper

c. 1486
Fresco, 400 x 800 cm
San Marco, Florence

The last surviving version of Ghirlandaio's Last Supper is in the refectory of the hostel of the San Marco convent.

It is pleasing to observe that chronicler's narration of his city and the rich bourgeois inhabitants who enlivened it in the middle of the 15th century. It is typical of the work of Ghirlandaio, who certainly sketched out the drawing and, at times, participated directly in its execution. Rendered without resorting to dramatic force, it reveals a serenity and great faithfulness to life. Note the impassive Judas, seated in front of Jesus and almost conversing with him. The supper takes place at a large table with a bright tablecloth, embroidered at the edges. Nothing about it is casual; the crockery, the decanters, the knives, the bread and the cherries, are carefully arranged in front of every guest.

With customary ease, Ghirlandaio fills the lunettes with large trees and birds in flight against a bright sky whose light is reflected onto the right-hand wall where an open window frames a perching peacock. The rest is in shadow. Two flower-displays complete the frame which encloses the space. A cat, waiting patiently for a hoped-for scrap of meat, lends a touch of intimacy and domesticity that is rarely lacking in Ghirlandaio.