(b. ca. 1415, Valls, d. 1492, Barcelona)

Last Supper

c. 1470
Wood, 172 x 164 cm
Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Barcelona

This Last Supper is a late work by Jaume Huguet whose art is highly characteristic of the period. In these late works the master heightened the effect of splendour by using embossed metal plates. Almost four centuries had passed since the painter of Seo de Urgell produced his altar panel. Now we have a representation of Christ not on his throne but at table with his disciples: Christ is still the central figure in the composition but this is no longer emphasized by the halo or a difference in size; the means are now purely pictorial - a cloak darker in hue than those of the disciples, the eyes looking straight at the spectator, and the movement of the disciples as they lean towards him. Huguet certainly did not achieve the unity seen in Leonardo's great work, but this painting does show that he was striving to group his figures effectively. Renaissance paintings revealing a knowledge of perspective had not yet reached Huguet's workshop, but he already shows a Renaissance enjoyment of the small things of life: the bread and the glass of wine on the table are not merely symbolic, they constitute a still-life. There is a similar enjoyment in his representations of the cat, the bird, the apple on the table and the mosaic pattern of the floor.