Clowns at the Last Supper?

Veronese got into trouble with the Inquisition for one of his feast pictures, which he called The Last Supper.

Oil on canvas  555 cm × 1280 cm (219 in × 500 in)   Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice

What are all those buffoons and German men-at-arms and courtesans and dogs doing there?” the Inquisitor asked him. “Do you think those were present at Our Lord’s last supper? Did anyone order you to put them in the picture?”

“No, sir,” replied Veronese, “ I put things in my paintings according to the consideration of what is required by my art….. I was only following the example of my betters.”

“The example of your betters? Who?”

“Michelangelo, who painted nudes in his Last Judgment on the wall of the Sistine Chapel.”

The judge squirmed a bit. Finally he said: “But on the Last Day people wouldn’t have been clothed, would they?”


Veronese was ordered to correct his painting, though it was obvious he couldn’t really do that without painting it over. So he changed the name to Feast in the House of Levi.

The Inquisition, by the way, helped him find this solution.  Read excerpts from the actual interrogation.


This entry was posted in art, great artists, Inquisition, oil painting, Veronese. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Clowns at the Last Supper?

  1. Nancy S. Diver-Gerd says:

    Isn\’t that a title! If only Dan Brown had thought of it first, he might have improved his stats…..

  2. Pingback: Veronese–the Painter of Light « The Best Artists

  3. ivdanu says:

    Yeap, acceptable compromise and beautiful colors! The church for the first and Veronesse for the second…

  4. Rich says:

    I must confess: I’m far from a thorough knowledge of the Bible. Don’t know if Jesus ever elaborated on art; did he?
    But my gut feeling says he might have liked Veronese’s supper.

    • 100swallows says:

      Rich and Danu: Let’s see if I can find time to put into this post excerpts from Veronese’s Inquisition trial. I have to say I don’t know how that Dominican prior who ordered the big painting could have been pleased with it (as a Last Supper) or could have hung it up in his monastery.

  5. Pingback: Veronese’s Wedding Banquet | The Best Artists

Leave a Reply