Peter in da Vinci's Last Supper Essay

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Leonardo's The Last Supper depicts the sequence of events before Jesus's betrayal and crucifixion. Rather than merely a snapshot in time, The Last Supper seems to be a continuous sequence of events, and a foreshadow of events to come. Two interpretations of the subject of the painting come to mind: the betrayal announcement and the first communion. Observing the impulsive Simon Peter's interactions with Judas and John, Jesus and Thomas, it is clear that The Last Supper represents a conjoint presence of both the betrayal announcement and the institution of the Eucharist.

The main theme behind The Last Supper is Jesus's death. Jesus came to earth to be crucified as the sacrifice for the sins of mankind. Man cannot become righteous by his
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At first glance, their reactions seem to react to the immediate announcement of the betrayer. But as we look deeper, their gestures also foreshadow events to come. Steinberg comments that left side of Christ were "his slower-witted disciples" responding to the announcement of the betrayal while those on his right were responding to his initiation of the Eucharist (p. 38). John, Judas and Peter form a triad on the left. Being the worldly impulsive person he is, he would have immediately reacted to the announcement of the betrayal instead of the deeper institution of the Eucharist.

The reactions of the triad are in complete contrast, with the impulsive Peter, the traitorous Judas and the passive John. John's hands are folded and reserved, while his head is leaned in towards Peter. There are not enough plates and cups for everyone in the picture, so Jesus borrows John's set. "Better to notice that John's `personal' glass and platter approach our side of the table while his hands withdraw and recede. These hands advance no possessive claims; they disown." (Steinberg 89) John's hands unselfishly give to Jesus. Though John is on the "death" side, he actually seems to understand the significance of the Eucharist. John's gospel written in 90 A.D. strongly emphasizes this. In contrast, Peter leans in toward the docile John with an aggressive look on his face. It could be interpreted that he is talking to John,

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