E.93 Last Supper

E.93 Limosin, Last Supper

After Rosso?

Etching by Léonard Limosin, 25 x 18.4 P (New York; the four corners and right edge and bottom cut).  Inscribed on a plaque at the top: LEONARD•/•LIMOSIN•1544; the upper part of the unique impression in New York is slightly misprinted.

Fig.E.93 (New York)

Robert-Dumesnil, V, 1841, 46-49, 2.  Le Blanc,  1854-1890, II, 553, 2.  Herbet, IV, 1900, 328 (1969, 178), 4.  Zerner, 1969, L.L.4.

COLLECTION: New York, 37.42.23 (probably from the Ottley Collection; see Robert-Dumesnil, above, and Demartial, 1912, 20).


Demartial, 1912, 19, 22, 25.

Kusenberg, 1931, 115, 119.

Ross, 1938, 361.

Adhémar, 1938, 2, no. 4.

Fay, in EdF, 1972, 291, under no. 356, gave Walter Vitzhum’s opinion that the etching is related to a copy of a drawing by Rosso in the Biblioteca Marucelliana in Florence and my comments that the print is related to a stained glass window of 1542 from the church of Saint-Jean in Rouen and now in the Victoria and Albert Museum (Fig.E.93, Window) and that the print could be related to a (lost) French drawing by Rosso.

Baratte, 1993, 22.


The Last Supper drawing in Florence mentioned by Vitzhum is an original drawing by Rosso or a very good copy of lost drawing by him (Fig.D.40A).  However, Limosin’s print is not derived from it; not a single motif in the one appears in the other.  It is, however, true that the kinds of figures that are found in the drawing do closely resemble Limosin’s, and it is, therefore, very possible that his print is dependent on a lost drawing by Rosso.  But that drawing would most likely have been one made in France, and not in Italy around 1529, which seems to be the date of the Marucelliana composition.  Without this supposed French drawing by Rosso it is not possible to determine how much Limosin altered it, although it is probable that he changed it less than in the case of his Annunciation (Fig.E.90), where for reasons of decorum and a clear iconography, Rosso’s drawing (Fig.D.83) may have been thought to require significant alterations.

The Last Supper window of 1542 in the Victoria and Albert Museum (R.L. No. 1, Lent by Her Majesty the Queen) may not be specifically related to an earlier drawing from which the print of 1544 is derived.  Perhaps this association should not even be suggested.  The pose of Judas in the etching is similar to that of the apostle at the right in the window.  Each work has a pitcher of somewhat the same design standing on the floor.  And yet as a whole the window does not remind one of Rosso’s style.  Nevertheless, realizing the degree of transformation that an image by Rosso might undergo in the hands of another artist, it may be advantageous to keep this Last Supper window in mind in case a work by Rosso does turn up that is more closely related to it.

Robert-Dumesnil pointed out that the overturned salt cellar by Judas in the print gives evidence of “un vieux peintre français” and noted the curiousness of this detail found together with thirteen people at a table.

ENAMELS: Limosin?  St. Petersburg, Hermitage, no. F-2638.  27 x 21, inscribed on a plaque at top: LL45.  PROVENANCE: from the Chouvalov Collection, 1925.

LITERATURE: O. Dobroklonskaya, Painted Enamel of Limoges, XV & XVI Centuries, The State Ermitage Collection, Moscow, 1969, 13-14, Pl. 28, as shop of Léonard Limosin.

The enamel is the same size and shape (rectangular) as the etching and in the same direction, except for the animal on the dish in the center of the table.  The compositions of the enamel and print are virtually identical, although a few details differ.  Some of the apostles have halos in the enamel.  The knife held by the apostle to the right of Christ is missing from the enamel.  If the inscription is read correctly, the enamel was made the year after the etching.  The plaque would seem to belong with the rectangular Kiss of Judas enamel at Écouen (see under E.95).

Limosin.  Écouen, Château, Musée national de la Renaissance, Cl 904C (Fig.E.93, Enamel).  Oval, 34 x 26, on inscription see below.

LITERATURE: Labord, Émaux, 1852, 177, n. 1, giving inscription at left edge as: Léonard L 1557.  Du Sommerard, 1883, 363, no. 4619.  Demartial, 1912, 22, Fig. 4, 22, 25.

From a photograph of this enamel in which a frame partially covers its edge what is visible of the inscription at the left edge reads: EONA /…D•L /…57 (probably for: LEONA / R D • L/ 1557).  This enamel is in the same direction as the etching and is derived from it.  Although expanded at the sides and top to accommodate it to its oval format, the enameled scene is in some of its details closer to the Limosin print than is the enamel in the Hermitage.  The apostle to the right of Christ holds a knife, and the overturned salt cellar is in the same place on the table.  But here, also, some of the apostles have halos.