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Mary Magdalene seated at the Last Supper in Korčula

Phespirit reports - September 2005

The Last Lord's Supper - Unknown Croatian Master XVII C.

The Last Lord's Supper - Unknown Croatian Master XVII C.

Every few decades the western world rediscovers its fascination with the Holy Grail. In 2005, inspired by a hugely successful but utterly discredited throwaway work of popular fiction published two years earlier, its interest was not in the actual quest for the legendary Grail; its interest was in the resurrected notion that the Grail is a royal bloodline stemming from Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene.

The first Grail legend was written by Chretien de Troyes in France during the 11th century. "Le Conte du Graal" is an unfinished fantasy about a youthful knight, Percival, who encounters the Grail in a castle belonging to the Fisher King. This Grail is the cup used by Christ at the Last Supper, and in which Joseph of Arimathea received the blood of Christ at the Cross. In the publication of 2003, Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene were husband and wife, they had a child, and the bloodline from the child is the Grail (for which the cup is a crude metaphor). The story is padded out with seductive tales of a secret sect called the Priory of Sion, legends of the Knights Templar, plus Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper.

The traditional Grail story was only ever a story. The Priory of Sion and their 'genealogy of Christ' were long ago exposed as the work of three French hoaxers. The Knights Templar were a real collective of Christian soldiers who once held Jerusalem, but at a time when the city stood 47m above the ancient level where the Grail was imagined to be buried. This just leaves Mary Magdalene and her relationship to Christ. Admirer? Disciple? Apostle? Wife? All of the above? Who knows.

Setting aside all scholarship and faith, there is one aspect of the fantasy on which anyone can venture an informed opinion. It concerns the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, painted upon the refectory wall of the Santa Maria della Grazie in Milan. Is the person seated to the right of Christ a man? If so, orthodoxy declares it to be St. John. Or is the person seated to the right of Christ a woman? If so, mass speculation has it to be Mary Magdalene (mass speculation being an orthodoxy without an institution).

Phespirit believes it to be a woman. He was disappointed not have noticed it prior to the current Grail debates. Now having seen it he is all the more pleased with himself when he sees it in other works.

The painting above is The Last Lord's Supper, credited to an Unknown Croatian Master XVII C. It fills the width of the farthest wall in the Icon Museum, Kaporova Ulica, Korčula on the Croatian island of Korčula. Similarities to Leonardo da Vinci's work include:

Differences between the paintings include:

..... and, of course, Leonardo's painting is the work of a true master, whereas the Unknown Croatian Master's painting is a childish daub by comparison. What does it all mean? If anything, the Last Lord's Supper in Korčula is an even stronger representation of the idea that one of Christ's Apostles was a woman who had a stronger emotional connection with Christ than any of the eleven male Apostles. But what does any of it prove? Nothing.

To see the painting, visit the Icon Museum, Kaporova Ulica, Korčula Town, Korčula, Croatia.
The museum is open from 10:00am to 2:00pm and from 5:00pm to 8:00pm.

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