Hidden treasures

The Last Supper by Veronese at the Gallerie dell'Accademia

Historical Curiosities
ultima-cena-veronese

The Last Supper by Veronese at the Gallerie dell'Accademia

The twelve rooms of the Gallerie dell'Accademia host many works of art from the Veneto Region and the city of Venice made by renowned artists including Tintoretto, Tiziano, Canaletto, Giovanni Bellini and Veronese.

As you enter hall number ten, a huge canvas - 5.55 meters high and 12.80 meters wide - will capture your attention: it is the canvas painting by Paolo Veronese, 'Feast in the House of Levy', dating from 1573.

The painting was created as a representation of the Gospel episode of the Last Supper and was completed for the Basilica of Saints John and Paul in Venice. However, if we carefully examine the details of the work, we will notice the presence of dozens of bizarre and sometimes ironic ‘figures’: acrobats, buffoons, drunken people, dwarves and even a slave with a nosebleed (epistaxis)!

How could the Catholic Church accept such a blasphemous and ‘disorderly’ representation for one of the most sacred episodes in the life of Christ? In fact, the dreaded Inquisition criticized the work and summoned its author before the court.

At the end of the trial, Veronese found himself forced to transform the sacred theme of the Last Supper into a convivial scene characterized by a lavish and vivacious banquet. He also changed the title of the canvas from 'The Last Supper' to 'The Feast in the House of Levi' ... But who was Levi?

Levi was the tax collector who threw a dinner party to celebrate Christ's call. The ostentatious and sumptuous setting is therefore in line with the new name of the work: the scene is set inside a 16th century Palladian-style building where the Venice of the past transpires through the elegant architecture, the rich costumes of the attendees and the victuals.

The visitor who is observing the canvas has the impression of admiring a large stage where the actors, or the guests, seem to direct their gaze at the central point of the scene occupied by the luminous figure of Jesus Christ. Next to him, sitting around the table are the Apostles and a multitude of other characters of different social backgrounds who, for the first time in sacred painting, find themselves attending one of the most significant moments in the life of Jesus, The Last Supper.

Do not miss the chance to admire up close the details of this unruly piece of artwork! On our portal you can buy the admission ticket to visit the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice and the wonderful masterpieces housed inside.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

Latest posts

Venice: The ‘Bauta’, the mystery mask

bauta-longhi
Historical Curiosities

Among the many masks that dominated the Venetian scene the most common was the 'Bauta', a male equivalent of the Moretta but, unlike th...

View

Venice: The Moretta, the mask of seduction

La-Moretta-maschera
Local Traditions

The Moretta was a small mask covered with black velvet (hence the name 'Moretta' because, in Venetian dialect, 'moro' means dark, black...

View

Venice: The love story of Maria del Ponte de le Maravegie

ponte-maravegie-venezia
Mysteries & Legends

Valentine's Day is almost upon us ... Do you know how many love stories and legends were born in Venice, one of the most romantic citie...

View

Venice: The Last Supper by Veronese at the Gallerie dell'Accademia

ultima-cena-veronese
Historical Curiosities

The twelve rooms of the Gallerie dell'Accademia host many works of art from the Veneto Region and the city of Venice made by renowned a...

View

Top posts

Venice: The portraits of Francesco Querini and Paola Priuli at the Querini Stampalia Foundation

francesco-querini-palma-il-vecchio
Big Names

The Fondazione Querini Stampalia Museum in Venice is a unique place to learn about Venice at the time of the Serenissima Republic. In t...

View

Padua: St George’s Oratory

oratorio-san-giorgio-padova
Unknown places & works

Padua is famous all over the world for the Scrovegni Chapel, frescoed with incredible skill by the great painter Giotto at the beginnin...

View

Verona: The 'Museo degli Affreschi'

museo-affreschi-verona
Unknown places & works

The city of Verona offers a wide range of options to its visitors: in addition to the most famous sights, such as the Arena or Juliet's...

View

Venice: The origins of the Carnival in Venice

faliero-vitale
Local Traditions

When looking for information on the birth of the Venice Carnival, the first place to head for is St. Mark’s Basilica, the place where...

View