Biblical Banquet Scenes in The Renaissance of Art in Italy
Melville’s copy of The Renaissance of Art in Italy offered a telling contrast in how Titian and Veronese depicted Biblical banquet scenes on canvas. The third, and last, engraving after Titian in Baxter's book was Christ and his Disciples at Emmaus (fig. 1 below). The original painting was in the Louvre in Paris. The image was inspired by the passage in the Gospel of Luke in which the resurrected Christ appears before two of his disciples and dines with them (Luke 24:26-43). Baxter’s caption for this image dated the painting c. 1545, adding that “tradition says that the disciple on the right of our Saviour represents Charles V, the one on his left the Cardinal Ximenès, and the page Phillip II of Spain” (288). Although other dates have been proposed and other identifications of Christ’s companions have been suggested, this caption in Melville’s copy of the book reflected Titian’s close associations with Emperor Charles V and the rulers of Spain whose effective alliance with Venetian forces eventually led to victory in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.