17th Century Art History
Supper at Emmaus
The supper at Emmaus is a very dynamic painting. Caravaggio ‘s use of chiaroscuro gives the illusion of depth and texture. It also helps to show the focal point of the painting to the central character with his arm extended. The lines of the painting also lead the eye to the central character of the painting. All of the figures are cutoff at the waist with the horizontal of the table. Caravaggio used this throughout his works. He was also known for his still life elements that are also prominent in this painting as well.
The painting is based off of the story of Luke(24 30-31) where Jesus reveals himself to two of his disciples. This is why Jesus is depicted without a beard, and the other characters appear surprised.
The painting was commissioned in 1601 by a Roman nobleman, Ciriaco Mattei, and was finished in 1602. The patron of the painting, Ciriaco Mattei was one of the larest collectors of art in rome at the time. The painting was later sold to Cardinal Scipione Borghese. The painting is now on permanent collection by The National Gallery in London but was on loan to The Art Institute of Chicago until January, and is not currently on display.
Everything that I have come across about the Supper at Emmaus is supported by multiple sources and widely documented. I suspect this is because of the popularity of the painting and its care over the years.