Last Supper 1938
Kathleen Munn, Last Supper, 1938
Graphite on paper, 38.7 x 49.5 cm
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
Munn achieves a new level of simplicity and cohesiveness in this beautifully conceived drawing of the Last Supper. Slightly off-centre, the action is contained in a Gothic quatrefoil, indicating the medieval roots of her inspiration.
Twelve apostles are braided together, alluding to the crown of thorns, which also resonates in Christ’s halo. This is the only time Munn includes this specific religious reference. Christ is the one figure standing, looking up, anticipating his resurrection. Munn’s ability to bring together all the key elements of the Passion of Christ in one image is a formidable accomplishment of modern visual expression.
Among Munn’s most refined and elegant Passion drawings, Last Supper is one of two works Munn sold to the Art Gallery of Toronto (now Art Gallery of Ontario) in 1945. Only three of her works entered public collections during her lifetime. Regarding this acquisition, she requested that the gallery “select from a few of those [drawings] that I might care to be represented by.”