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Rubens continues the Christian theme with this scene from the Gospel of Luke (24, 13-55)
Religious scripture holds some extraordinary narratives which have been influential to countless artists from the Renaissance and Baroque art movements. The Supper at Emmaus describes how Christ's resurrection is discovered by two pilgrims, after he blesses their bread whilst at dinner.
Rubens revisited this topic in 1638, having produced this painting in 1610. The later version features a more complex background scene, with this one far simpler and more in line with the versions produced by Caravaggio. There were also several similar pieces by artists termed as 'followers of Rubens'.
This oil on canvas is sized at an impressive 205cm x 188cm which is a fairly standard size for Rubens within his career. Beyond the canvas used here, he also painted on wood panels and slate at various times, adapting to the needs of each commission.
Italian master Caravaggio produced the most famous depictions of The Supper at Emmaus, with two artworks coming in 1601 and 1606. They can be found in London and Milan, respectively. Rubens' own version is similar in composition to The Last Supper, with figures closely grouped together, allowing the viewer to get closer to the scene and see more detail of the facial expressions than had been achieved with Da Vinci's more famous version of The Last Supper.