The Paschal Mysteries and Fear through Time and the Paintbrush.
Before being moved to another part of the museum, Salvador Dali's The Sacrament of the Last Supper(see Appendix A) hung on a stairway landing between the East and West Wings of the National Art Gallery in Washington, D.C. It was an amazing transition from the very modern to the very traditional exhibits in the different wings, with its depiction of the most traditional of stories in a very surreal and modern manner. More obviously, it was an awesome sensation to go suddenly from a vanilla colored stairway to this amazing, luminous painting that looms above and captures the viewer. Dali took a very traditional scene and made it into a very modern, very clear paint, whereas Rubens's The Last Supper(see Appendix B) is a very traditional painting of the Baroque era. Through the organization of the paintings, the two different styles, and the content on the canvases, the two paintings exemplify the evolution of fear the world has undergone regarding Jesus and the Paschal mysteries through time.
Jesus Christ used the Last Supper as a means to explain to His followers what was to come and to prepare them for His destiny. The meal served as a transition from His teachings to His sacrifice. In the two paintings here, Jesus is shown in the center of his followers, but each painting treats him differently in this position. Where Rubens shows Him as looking to God and holding up the bread, Dali has Christ pointing to God and has His other hand on His chest. He looks out and to the right of the observer, perhaps preoccupied with His flock. Above the table and guests, Dali refers to the crucifixion with the posed chest floating above the painting, where Rubens shows no allusion to the mysteries which followed the meal. Dali also portrays Jesus as a teacher, pointing out His father with his right hand and to Himself with his left, as though to make the connection clear to the present day viewer; the disciples are in front of Him in a perfect 12-sided polygon, their heads bowed to His Word.