Description This Supper at Emmaus is remarkable for the presence of a black Egyptian at Christ's right hand. After his Resurrection, Christ appeared to two disciples at an inn in the town of Emmaus (Luke 24). Depicted here is the moment just before they realize that the wise stranger who "breaks bread" with them is Christ. The innkeeper stands, while the disciples are identified by walking staffs. The biblical story does not note other companions. However, here they are joined by a black soldier, an Egyptian as identified by the characteristic red, wooly headdress. He leans toward Christ, apparently passing him a dish. Seated and a soldier, he cannot be a servant. Egyptian soldiers were often in Venice with diplomatic missions. The man's inclusion conveys the universality of Christ's promise of salvation. This is thought to be the earliest existing European image of a black African at Christ's right hand. See the brief discussion of the painting in J. Spicer, ed., Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe. Baltimore: Walters Art Museum, 2012, no. 25.
- Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton. 2012-2013.
Provenance William T. / Henry Walters Collection, Baltimore, prior to 1909 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by William T. or Henry Walters, before 1909
Download Image Add to Collection Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Creative Commons License