The Last Supper

Italian (Faenza)
16th century


H. 8 1/2"; W. 12 5/6" (14 3/4" with base); L. 22 7/8" (24 1/2" with base)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Tin-glazed earthenware (maiolica)

On View

Italian Renaissance Gallery (Gallery 206)





Christ and twelve Disciples are seated on stools at a rectangular table, which is set with plates, cups, pitchers, and knives. Food includes rolls on the table, and meat, lemons, and other items on dishes. Three of the Disciples stand at either end of the table, with their stools pushed back behind them. Christ is seated in the center of the table, with long blonde hair and beard, and is wearing an ochre robe with blue mantel. Seated to his left is the young blonde, beardless figure of Saint John the Evangelist, and directly across from Christ is Judas, who holds a bag of money in his right hand. All the figures are barefoot, all but three have beards, and all, except Christ and Saint John, are dark haired. The figures are dressed in robes and mantels of blue, green, and ochre. The floor is painted blue, molded to look like stone, and is incised and lined in brown.

Composed of moveable figures, this Last Supper may have been a seasonal decoration, taken out and arranged during the week leading up to Easter Sunday. Such miniature tableaux are unusual, and provide a rare glimpse of how devotional practices became part of the decoration of the private home or monastery. Christ and the twelve apostles are seated around a table set with maiolica jugs, plates of food, and knives-forks were not yet customary at table.


R. Thornton Wilson (b. 1886 - d. 1977), New York; 1983, bequest of R. Thornton Wilson to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 12, 1983)

Credit Line

Bequest of R. Thornton Wilson in memory of Florence Ellsworth Wilson