Last Supper (1903) by Ilya Repin

Last Supper - Ilya Repin - 1903

Artwork Information

TitleLast Supper
ArtistIlya Repin
Dimensions63 x 104 cm
Art MovementRealism
Current LocationNovgorod State Museum Preserve, Novgorod, Russia

About Last Supper

The artwork titled “Last Supper” is a creation of the Russian artist Ilya Repin, dated to the year 1903. Created with oil on canvas, it is an exemplar of Realism—an art movement that Repin was closely associated with. Measuring 63 by 104 centimeters, the painting falls under the religious painting genre. The “Last Supper” can be found in its current residence at the Novgorod State Museum Preserve in Novgorod, Russia.

In this somber and evocative representation of the Last Supper, Ilya Repin portrays the momentous biblical scene with a sense of immediacy and emotional depth. The central figure of Jesus Christ is depicted with an aura of calm serenity, distinguished from his disciples by a brighter, purer shade of clothing which draws immediate attention. The disciples are arrayed around him, engaged in various states of conversation and reflection, providing a study of human emotions and interactions that is characteristic of the Realist movement.

The painting is imbued with a chiaroscuro effect, with the flickering candlelights casting shadows and creating a dramatic atmosphere. Texturally, the brushwork is loose, which imparts a sense of movement and vibrancy, while also contributing to the overall moodiness of the scene. The composition is anchored by the horizontality of the table and the figures sit or stand in a way that guides the viewer’s eye across the canvas, ensuring that each character within the narrative is accorded significance.

Repin’s mastery in capturing the intensity of the scene is evident in the facial expressions and body language of the disciples, suggesting an array of individual reactions to the unfolding event. Despite the religious significance of the scene, Repin has applied a very human lens to the subject, grounding the divine narrative in palpably human terms and thus bridging the gap between the celestial and the earthly. This artistic choice aligns with the principles of Realism, which sought to represent subjects in a truthful, non-idealized manner.

Overall, Repin’s “Last Supper” is a profound interpretation of a pivotal moment in Christian narrative, rendered with technical skill and emotional resonance, speaking to the enduring human engagement with faith and spirituality.

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