Van Orley and de Pannemaker, The Last Supper

Van Orley and de Pannemaker, The Last Supper

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Met director Thomas P. Campbell on game changers in Bernard van Orley and Pieter de Pannemaker’s The Last Supper, c. 1524–46 (design), c. 1525–28 (woven). This splendid Last Supper is part of a series of four tapestries illustrating the Passion of Christ. They were designed by Bernard van Orley, a leading artist in sixteenth-century Brussels, the preeminent center for tapestry manufacture in this period. The work exemplifies van Orley’s integration of Northern traditions and Italian models to develop a new tapestry style. He combined the expressive emotion and penchant for detail found in Albrecht Dürer’s Last Supper woodcut, which inspired the tapestry’s compositional arrangement, with Raphael’s monumental figures and spatial construction. Raphael’s cartoons for the tapestry series Acts of the Apostles, commissioned for the Sistine Chapel and sent to Brussels to be woven, were significant models for van Orley and other Flemish artists, providing a paradigm of the grand, heroic narrative style of contemporary Roman art. In the Last Supper, populated by muscular, rhetorically gesturing figures engaged in a moment of high drama, van Orley fully realized tapestry's potential for emulating monumental painting. View this work on metmuseum.org. Are you an educator? Here's a related lesson plan. For additional educator resources from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, try this and also visit Find an Educator Resource.

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art


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