Scala/Art Resource, New York, NY

The Last Supper. Jesus and his disciples gather solemnly for their last meal together in a second fresco from the Arena Chapel by Giotto (see previous image).

Author Neusner links the Last Supper to the incident with the money changers. Overturning the tables of the money changers was actually an overturning of the entire process of atonement as perceived in Jewish law and tradition, Neusner writes. In place of the Temple sacrifices, Jesus commands his followers to partake of his body and blood, in the form of the bread and wine eaten at the Last Supper: “Take, eat; this is my body….Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:26–28).

Giotto portrays the disciples scanning each other’s faces anxiously: Jesus has just announced that one of them will betray him. John, traditionally understood to have had the closest emotional relationship with Jesus, reclines against Jesus’ chest. Judas, at lower left, places his hand in Jesus’ dish, in accord with Jesus’ statement at the Last Supper, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me, will betray me” (Matthew 26:23).

In an oddity, the near right roof support seems to pierce the head of the disciple at lower right. Art historians speculate that Giotto or one of his assistants painted the scene’s architectural elements before rendering the figures and then neglected to properly relate the post to the person next to it.