Jason Jenicke's Fine Arts
It is apparent that the Last Supper painting is unlike what most of us are used to seeing, but it is a rendition that I believe represents what that event could have looked like, after much research.
The disciples and Jesus are beginning the Seder meal, the meal which celebrates the feast of Passover. Their clothing is simple and lacking color, garb that rugged fishermen like themselves would most likely be accustomed to wearing. They are leisurely sitting around the table with only candlelight illuminating the room.
The dishes are simple. Each item on the table is symbolic. A whole lamb is shown. The parsley (green herb) speaks of springtime, the horseradish (bitter herb) is a reminder of slavery, the haroset, a salad made of chopped apples, chopped nuts, cinnamon, and wine, bears the sweet taste of freedom and finally, an egg represents the roasted egg offered at the Passover festival. These symbolic items are discussed during the Seder meal. Only matza, unleavened bread, is served. Each participant will be expected to drink from a total of four cups of wine throughout the evening, with wine considered a symbol of joy. Saltwater is on the table which the parsley will be dipped into as yet another reminder of the harshness of slavery.
The lamb is in front of Jesus; the final cup is full. Many blessings will be said throughout the evening.
The painting requires active participation from its viewer to determine who is who. John would most likely being asking questions with Jesus at the head of the table. Though the Bible does not make reference to Mary’s presence at the meal, it is possible that she is watching. It is apparent that some of the disciples are deep in discussion, likely expressing concern about what they feel their friend, Jesus, is likely to endure.
I encourage you to allow yourself to be drawn into the room, possibly entering to occupy the empty corner of the table.