Catherine Lescuyer ordered this painting from Rubens in order to celebrate the life of her father. It would become an element of an altarpiece in the Church of St Rombout in Mechelen, Belgium.
Many artists took this scene into their career, each adding or adapting the symbolism in different ways. Often a dog would be placed around Judas, as if his companion. This would represent greed or evil and can be seen in several Renaissance and Baroque depictions of The Last Supper.
Elements of the colour scheme are similar to The Immaculate Conception. The original artwork can now be found at the Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan with Rubens completing The Last Supper around 1630-1631. This prestigious art museum in the north of Italy also holds several other significant artworks within its collection, such as The Marriage of the Virgin by Raphael, Pieta by Giovanni Bellini, Supper at Emmaus by Caravaggio, St Jerome in Wilderness by Titian and The San Luca Altarpiece by Andrea Mantegna.
Rubens' versions of The Last Supper is highly respected in its own right, but will, of course, never be as famous as the extraordinary painting by Leonardo da Vinci. Da Vinci took quite a different angle to the famous table, taking in a more conservative seating plan where each diner is spaced relatively evenly.
The Flemish artist's version features a much closer-knit atmosphere, with everyone hunched around a smaller oval table. There is a more personal feeling to this painting, with the lighting again typical of Rubens and his method of lightening the key parts of each composition.