Scala/Art Resource, NY

Something fishy. By the time this mosaic was installed in the Church of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy, in the late fifth century, catacomb burials had ceased. But the influence of catacomb art lived on. Here the number of diners, the halo around Jesus’ head and the mosaic’s position among depictions of other gospel stories clearly indicate this is an illustration of the Last Supper. But its artistic ancestry can be traced to the catacomb banquet scenes: The apostles wear formal togas and lounge on couches behind a curved table covered with a long white cloth. And they are dining on five loaves and two fish, symbols that are out of place in Last Supper scenes but that appear over and over again in catacomb frescoes of sacred meals.