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The most prominent is obviously the use of lit halos – Jesus’s head is fully enshrined by a glowing sun of light, while is apostles each have their own much smaller halo as well. But Tintoretto also includes common people in his composition, washing the floor, serving people and so on – these people have no halos at all. This disparity in that visual element creates a clear hierarchy – Jesus is the most holy, and is on a plane wholly above the apostles, who are, in turn, more holy than the common people – the composition emphasizes the otherness and superiority of Jesus and his companions.
DaVinci’s composition, on the other hand serves almost the opposite purpose. The only prominence given to Jesus is his place at the centre of the table, somewhat separated from his companions. But otherwise he bears no particular marks of holiness, and his companions jostle together in the conviviality of the meal. This connects the subjects of the painting, Jesus and the Apostles, to the viewer, who has no doubt also experienced such an occasion amongst friends. This emphasizes the humanity of Jesus and his companions, and encourages the viewer to follower their examples, showing that they, as amazing as they were, they were people too, and can be emulated.
These two paintings, though both quite striking, diverge drastically in the connection they make between their subject and their viewer, with Tinteretto’s creating distance, and DaVinci’s creating
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