The Supper at Emmaus
Recordings for Adults
A significant alteration to the composition of The Supper at Emmaus was discovered in a recent cleaning of the painting. A landscape seen through an archway, as in the altarpiece in Cittadella, Italy had been cut from the left side, converting the image into an interior scene. It is estimated that approximately 3-1/4 inches (8.35 cm) were removed. The landscape had not only provided the source of light, but it also made the composition asymmetrical. Fortunately, a small strip of the original landscape could be recovered in the recent restoration because it had been folded over and used as a tacking margin. Five cherries that had been over-painted were also uncovered during cleaning. They were abraded, but one could clearly make out their presence. The number of cherries--a symbol of Christ's martyrdom--is significant iconographically.
As in another painting by Bassano in the Kimbell's collection, Portrait of a Franciscan Friar, the artist used white lead in the ground layer. The priming was similarly applied in broad vertical and horizontal strokes with a spatula, which can be seen in the x-radiograph.