VEEN, Otto van
(b. 1556, Leiden, d. 1629, Bruxelles)
The Last Supper1592
Oil on canvas, 350 x 2247 cm
O.-L. Vrouwekathedraal, Antwerp
Jesus and his disciples take their meal in a room with columns, oil-lamps, a sofa and an amphora that give it a classical feel. A glowing light in the dark background illuminates the Bible.
The artist shows the moment at which Christ blesses the bread and wine before his agitated disciples. Christ has just suggested that one of them would betray him. They began to be distressed and to say to him one after another, 'Surely, not I?' To the viewer, however, it is clear that the man who turns away from the group as his wine is poured and who secretively clutches a purse is the traitor Judas.
The painting originally served as an altarpiece in a chapel devoted to the Eucharist. It is considered to be one of Van Veen masterpieces.