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The Disciples at Emmaus, or The Pilgrims at Emmaus (Les disciples d'Emmaüs, ou Les pèlerins d'Emmaüs)

Eugène Delacroix

European Art

According to the Bible, two of Christ’s disciples encountered a stranger on the road from Jerusalem immediately after the Crucifixion. At an inn at Emmaus, the stranger blessed and broke bread, an act that recalled the Last Supper and revealed him to be the resurrected Christ to the astonishment of his disciples.

Delacroix locates this miraculous apparition in a darkened interior, dramatically illuminated by Christ’s golden halo. Echoing the diagonal of the staircase, Jesus stands with a powerful backward thrust, breaking the bread with his large hands. Whereas the sprawled posture of the disciple on the right conveys the relaxation of a meal shared among friends, the disciple on the left registers the wonder of the moment. Delacroix turns the surprised disciple’s face toward Jesus, preferring to use bodily gesture—an up-flung left hand—rather than facial expression to convey amazement. In addition to shrewd compositional strategies and theatrical lighting, the artist’s characteristically loose paint handling contributes a further note of dramatic energy to the work.
MEDIUM Oil on canvas
  • Place Made: Europe
  • DATES 1853
    DIMENSIONS 21 3/4 × 18 1/2 in. (55.2 × 47 cm) frame: 27 3/4 × 24 1/2 × 2 1/2 in. (70.5 × 62.2 × 6.4 cm)  (show scale)
    SIGNATURE Signed and dated lower left: "Eug. Delacroix 1853."
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Mrs. Watson B. Dickerman
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Eugène Delacroix (French, 1798–1863). The Disciples at Emmaus, or The Pilgrims at Emmaus (Les disciples d'Emmaüs, ou Les pèlerins d'Emmaüs), 1853. Oil on canvas, 21 3/4 × 18 1/2 in. (55.2 × 47 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mrs. Watson B. Dickerman, 50.106 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 50.106_SL1.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 50.106_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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