Analysis: Dürer’s “The Last Supper”

A fresh pathway of synchrony has led us from Leonardo’s painting, Virgin of the Rocks, to Albrecht Dürer’s woodcut, The Last Supper. Like Leonardo’s painting, Dürer’s Last Supper has two versions, one of which (1510 version) includes a heretical yet open secret along with rich occult symbolism—obvious only to viewers initiated into an alternative perspective on reality and history—while the other, the 1523 version, contains standard fare Last Supper information plus the same heresy but disguised by symbolism. Please go to the homepage and examine Image File #58 before proceeding. To the untrained eye, both woodcuts are of the same literal scene at different points in the unfolding of the New Testament story.

Dürer learned much from the pillars and masters of the Italian Renaissance, including, it seems, the technique for occulting and revealing gnostic secrets through creation of contrasting versions of sacred scenes to suit opposing religious audiences. The French art historian, college professor, and former curator at the Louvre during the mid-20th century, René Huyghe, referred to Dürer as “the key to the whole era,” in part because Dürer’s prints were the channel through which Renaissance ideals were carried into northern Europe from the Mediterranean.

First, a synopsis of our examination of the 1523 version:

The 1523 presents the same essential setting as the 1510, but it is more “customary” in its design and there are striking differences. This version is horizontally aligned, effectively cropped to eliminate overarching gnostic symbolism found in the 1510. Daylight shows through the window and the meal has yet to begin. The group includes Jesus and eleven disciples—Judas is omitted. Jesus is sitting sideways (only his right foot is visible) to accommodate John, who is seated closely next to him with head in arms on the table. To Jesus’ right, a single chalice rests on the table, which we take to be a symbol for Mary Magdalene, rather than as a vague reference to John 13:26, as generally accepted. Her presence is shrewdly alluded to in this version designed to suit the traditional Roman Catholic “passion of Christ” perspective.

This Romanized version was made during the reign of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who held the purse from which Dürer’s pension was paid. Although not entirely dependent on wealthy patrons, Dürer had begun receiving that funding from Emperor Maximilian I in 1515, long after the 1510 woodcut had been made, and it was an arrangement that had required the approval of Charles for its continuance. Dürer was a printmaker, and prints of the 1523 version were clearly intended for the Catholic market. Only the most subtle hints of gnostic humanist perspective could be included.

Now, by contrast, the significance and full power of the 1510 version is perceivable:

The 1510 version was one of a dozen woodcuts in a set known as Dürer’s “Great Passion” series. It was one of four woodcuts produced in 1510. The four are: The Last Supper; The Betrayal of Christ, which depicts the hostile capture of Jesus; The Harrowing of Hell, which depicts Jesus’ descent into Hell to rescue imprisoned spirits; and The Resurrection, which more so depicts the Ascension. Note that there is no Crucifixion scene and no scene depicting entombment. For now, we will avoid digressing into an exploration of the full significance of Dürer’s gnostic focus in that period.

This version has a vertically aligned format that displays a round window, a window like the one in the 1523 except that it is dark outside now and the group is gathered beneath a vaulted-arch ceiling. More specifically, they are underneath ogival Gothic vaulting. The power of this symbolism lies in the fact that this type structure is uniquely designed to manage forces that are directed upwards rather than downwards (esoteric knowledge held by occultists and certain artists and architect-builders schooled in the “mysteries”). And with the round window centered beneath this arch, we also see the yonic symbolism discussed in our October, 2014 post: “‘Lost Tomb of Jesus’ Symbol.” The room is thereby rendered womb-like with respect to the religious movement soon to be birthed. All of this information is cropped from the 1523 version.

The most telling discovery with respect to this version has been held for last: the clear and open presence of Mary Magdalene, who Jesus holds lovingly at his bosom. This is not John. Both of Jesus’ feet are visible in this version as she is seated at an angle on his lap. Apparently sleeping, after some—perhaps emotional—exhaustion, she is there in addition to all twelve disciples, including Judas who turns away clutching his payment for betrayal. The verticality of the scene—which presses the group so closely together that the figures at the far sides are barely included—together with the foreground action of the meal underway, distracts the viewer from making a careful and definitive count of the figures. There are fourteen. Look at Image File #58 again.

This finding opens new doors on Dürer, on the overall Renaissance, and on the matter of a secret society, or network of secret societies rooted in deep antiquity, having and preserving esoteric knowledge and historical records known only to a few.


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One Response to “Analysis: Dürer’s “The Last Supper””

  1. PluribusOne™ Says:

    That the background design of this woodcut, with its round window beneath an ogival Gothic vaulted arch, obviously matches the design of the entrance to the “Lost Tomb” of Jesus of Nazareth helps evidence Dürer’s secret society-held knowledge of occulted matters, including the true burial place and lineage of Jesus. See our other posts on Dürer.

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