“The Supper at Emmaus” (1606) by Caravaggio
Caravaggio baffles with the predominant darkness (i.e., scuro) of the contours in this warm and intimate chiaroscuro tableau that captures a very special and intimate moment: a dinner in the life of the Resurrected Christ after his encounter with two of his disciples – who had not recognized him – on the way to Emmaus.
The lighter effects (i.e., chiaro) put the focus on the three table mates, the language of the hands of each commensal and the single expressions.
Christ’s lifted hand is the characteristic gesture of a teacher who is instructing and awakening the attention of his pupils or even reprimanding them.
The two disciples’ undivided and fervent attention may be clearly evinced by the position of their leaning bodies towards the speaker, while their evident surprise may be deduced by the left hand of one disciple’s clutching the table, and the open left hand of the other.
The demeanor of both expresses momentary disbelief, confusion and recognition of the Master – at last – as He is blessing the bread; a gesture so uniquely peculiar to Jesus such to cause his identity to be finally and unequivocally revealed.
Teaching and learning are two of the most important processes that accompany man throughout his entire life.
Both processes occur in all walks of life, although some occupations require lifelong study and commitment and this is the case for the legal profession.