Wonder  }  Artwork

Supper at Emmaus

In Cittadella, an altarpiece by Jacopo da Ponte

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Where is


Via Guglielmo Marconi, 5, 35013 Cittadella PD, Italia (0m s.l.m.)


Where it is. Cittadella's diocesan museum.

The entrance to Cittadella's small museum of sacred art is a bit of a side street, in the Piazza del Sagrato, at the back of the cathedral. We are lucky enough to visit the museum one evening, well before the official opening in May 2021, accompanied by Don Luca, who tells us about the long challenge of this project. In the last room, the two most precious works await us: a 15th-century "Lamentation over the Dead Christ" and the "Supper in Emmaus," by Jacopo da Ponte from Bassano, commissioned on August 19, 1537 and paid 60 ducats. It is precisely the Supper in Emmanus that Vittorio Cecchetto, a musician and writer from Cittadella, tells us about in his book Cittadella monamour (Biblos, 2021). And he tells it like this...

Let's read the canvas

"Jacopo sets to work. The canvas is risky for so many reasons. Too many. It sets the stage for the ending of the Gospel story. The disciples are at dinner with the unknown Guest who accompanied them on the journey. On the table are a glass of red and Marostica cherries, signs of passion. Above an iron rod, a swallow - too early in the season - symbolizes the resurrection. In the background is the Grappa and daily life that goes on slowly, always the same: a man rests at the foot of a tree, two lovers under a niche heedless of everything, servants in the kitchen preparing meals by curiously moving a curtain. Perhaps the first to catch the prodigy taking place in the normality of an ordinary day. A cat, a satanic figure, lurks over the faith, slumbering like the little dog at the feet of one of the disciples."

Echoes of contemporary history, read between the lines

"The two argue, not yet noticing the fingers raised in the gesture of blessing that will reveal the divine nature of the Guest. Perhaps Jacopo has sensed the approaching crisis, and the dispute between the disciples alludes to the clash of factions about to face each other: Reformation and Counter-Reformation will begin a bitter confrontation that will last for half a century. Christ is at the center, almost forgotten; the contenders ignore him, caught up in the controversy. The debate is tight but civil, the scene has calm, cautious tones, the volumes are harmonious, with composed coloring. It is a diffuse recollection that restores the spirit of a simple, rural everyday life, insensitive to the quarrels and velleities of worldly powers."


"The painting is a miraculous balance. A theological synthesis that everyone can understand. These are topical themes and doctrinal allusions dosed with measure. The artist avoids any risk, woe to slip into dangerous stances. Jacopo does not take sides; there is too much at stake. The Church itself does not yet know what its future will be. A new Council will be needed, in Trent in the lands most affected by rebellion, to chart the way forward."

In the Community

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Maria Cristina

Reading a painting is an exercise in beauty.


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