Friday, April 08, 2011

Animals and Eternity

There is a painting by Giuseppe Vermiglio of the Last Supper. This painting has three animals in it. I have never pictured the Last Supper with Jesus to have animals included but this is how Vermiglio saw it. The first animal is in front of Jesus and is the butchered Passover Lamb. This lamb was to be spotless and without blemish in order to be sacrifices and served at the Passover meal. This animal represented Christ himself, OUR Passover Lamb. The spotless and perfect one who was sacrificed for us.

The next animal is a small dog. You see this dog coming out from under the table the disciples were reclining on. The small dog here was a symbel of the destitute in society, of those who fed off the scraps of the tables the rest of the people left over after they had their fill. Whatever fell to the floor was picked up and cleaned up by the small dogs. These were the friendly, big-eyed, whimpering ones and not the mean and nasty dogs of the street.

The third animal is a fat cat. Not even a black cat but a cat that represents the devil. The only one to notice this cat is the small dog. The cat/devil sits behind Judas whom we recognize because he is holding a bag full of 30 pieces of silver in his right hand and while all the other Apostles are listing to and leaning toward Jesus, he seems to be looking to make his way AWAY FROM the Savior.

Vermiglio was saying some pretty interesting things through his painting. The dog is in a defensive posture and probably barking annoyingly which the disicples simple don’t see or pay attention to. The only one that sees the evil hovering around Judas is the destitute in society. The Apostles are too busy trying to jocky for position and learning from Jesus that they neglect the world around them and the devil in their midst.

While not crafted and as popular as DaVinci’s version of the same scene, Vermiglio captures something the Leonardo misses. Listen to your animals! Okay, maybe not that so much but certainly BE AWARE of the world around you even while you are worshipping and spending time in the presence of Jesus.

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