Research Article

DOI :10.26650/artsanat.2021.16.0005   IUP :10.26650/artsanat.2021.16.0005    Full Text (PDF)

Two Scenes in the Post-Resurrection Cycle: On the Road to Emmaus and the Supper at Emmaus

Hatice Demir

This study examines scenes from two important 14th-century tableaus depicting Christ with his disciples: On the Road to Emmaus and the Supper at Emmaus. While such portrayals of the post-Resurrection cycle were rare in Eastern/Byzantine art, they were far more prevalent in Western/Latin art. The earliest example of On the Road to Emmaus in Eastern art is at the Basilica of Ravenna Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, dating to the 6th century. The earliest instance in Western art is a 9th-century depiction on an ivory plaque. Latin samples of the scenes are popular in illustrated manuscripts. The study scope can be divided into two parts. The first part examines Eastern/Byzantine examples and the second part analyzes Western/Latin samples per a hierarchical classification. In the conclusion and evaluation section, the selected examples are compared. Eastern examples of the two scenes are rare and quantitatively outnumbered in Western/Latin art. This study explores the reasons for the rareness of these scenes in Eastern art and their abundance in Western art; different interpretations of the same are presented in the conclusion. Finally, the iconography of the two scenes differs in Eastern and Western examples. Therefore, our evaluation is focused on solving these questions. Our primary aim was to answer these problematic questions on the sources and reasons for the differences in iconography. The selection of the Byzantine and Latin samples was limited to those from the end of the 14th century to evaluate them in their synchronicity.

DOI :10.26650/artsanat.2021.16.0005   IUP :10.26650/artsanat.2021.16.0005    Full Text (PDF)

Diriliş Sonrası Siklusu İçerisinde İki Sahne: Emmaus Yolunda ve Emmaus’da Akşam Yemeği

Hatice Demir

Bu çalışmada Emmaus Yolunda ve Emmaus’da Akşam Yemeği sahneleri incelenmiştir. Diriliş Sonrası siklusu içerisinde yer alan iki sahne, Doğu/Bizans tasvir sanatında nicel olarak az yer alırken, sahnelerin Batı/Latin örneklerinde sayıca fazla olması dikkat çeker. Doğu örneklerinde, sahnenin en erken tarihli örneği 6. yüzyıla tarihlenen Sant’Apollinore Nuovo bazilikasında görülürken, Batı örneklerinde en erken tarihli örnek, 9. yüzyıla ait bir fildişi levhaya aittir. Diğer taraftan Latin örneklerinin daha çok resimli el yazmalarında tercih edildiği gözlemlenir. Çalışmanın kapsamı iki alt başlık altında ele alınmıştır. İlk grupta, Doğu/Bizans örnekleri, ikinci alt başlık altında Batı/Latin örnekleri incelenmiştir. Değerlendirme bölümünde sahneler, kendi aralarında kıyaslanmıştır. Bu bağlamda, Doğu örneklerinin az olmasına karşın, Batı örneklerinin nicel olarak çok olması sorunsalına cevaplar bulunmaya çalışılmıştır. Değerlendirme kapsamında ele alınan noktalardan bir diğerini, ikonografik detaylar oluşturmuştur. Bu bağlamda her iki sahnenin ikonografisinde farklı yorumlar ile karşılaşılmıştır. Değerlendirme bölümünde, cevap aranan en önemli nokta ise bu detaylardaki farklılıkların kaynağının neler olabileceğine dair sorulardır. Çalışma kapsamında incelenen örneklerin (Bizans ve Latin) tarihleri, içlerinde bir eşzamanlılık olması adına 14. yüzyıl sonu ile sınırlandırılmıştır.


In Christian art, the Christ cycle includes scenes of his life divided into various sub-cycles. Some of these sub-cycles depict the infancy cycle beginning with the Annunciation to Mary and Nativity of Christ, Miracles of Jesus, and Passion of Christ. The post-Resurrection cycle starts after the Descent from the Cross and Entombment scenes. The post-Resurrection cycle scenes are as follows: Myrrhbearers/Myrophoroi/ Marys at the Tomb, Chairete, Noli me Tangere, Peter and John at the Tomb/Empty Tomb, the Incredibility of Thomas, the Miraculous Catch of Fish/Miraculous Draught of Fish(es), On the Road to Emmaus, the Supper at Emmaus, Christ Appears to the Eleven, and Anastasis. The Anastasis scene is different from the other post-Resurrection cycle scenes for lacking a direct reference to the post-Resurrection events of the Synoptic Gospels. Hades, a pagan period element, is the most obtrusive iconographic detail of the Anastasis scene. Hades is an indirect biblical element of the scene originating from the term “Sheol/grave” in Psalm 16:10 and “the realm of the dead” in Acts 2:27. All the post Resurrection cycle’s scenes are prevalent after Iconoclasm. The Incarnation of Christ, consisting of both his human and divine nature, was one of the main topics discussed in the Iconoclastic period. Opposite to Iconoclastic supporters, the Iconodule supporters believed in Christ and revered depictions of him related to his incarnation. Therefore, post-Resurrection scenes were a testimony to his personification and a political manifestation up to this era. As a result of this manifestation, the scenes were ubiquitous in every area of art.

Of the Eastern samples of Road to Emmaus, the first is at the Basilica di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna; it dates to the 6th century. Only three examples have been identified in book illumination. The earliest dates to the 11th century, whereas the latest one is a copy. The latest examples of the two scenes in Eastern art at the Serbia Gračanica Monastery date to the 14th century. The earliest examples of the scenes are on a plaque dated to the 9th-century Carolingian period in Western art. These depictions are seen frequently in Western book illuminations. When the Eastern and Western examples are compared, the differences in iconographical details are notable. These differences were also apparent in the architectural details of the Emmaus. It is unclear where Emmaus is today. Especially after the Crusades, many Latin-centered villages were named Emmaus, and sanctuaries were built along the sacred pilgrimage routes to the holy lands. The architectural details of these various pilgrimage sites 

belonged to different religious groups, such as the Franciscans. The Dominican Order is visible in the depiction of Emmaus. In some examples, the village buildings were depicted with church-like architectural details, whereas in some parts, the city walls appear prominently in both scenes. Other iconographical differences are visible in the physical depictions of Christ and his two followers. In Eastern examples, Christ and his two followers are usually depicted in chiton and himation. In Western scenes, Christ wears a nonwoven cloak, carries a shoulder bag, with a cap on his head, and holds a shepherd scepter in his hand. With these clothes, he appears like a shepherd. Both in Eastern and Western examples, the two followers of Christ are generally depicted without a halo. One of his followers’ names was Cleopas, but the other’s name is unknown. These two figures were not Christ’s disciples. He had only two followers. In the Bible, the followers’ number between 70 and 120. Because of not being disciples of Christ, they appear without halos in many cases. The last iconographical detail discussed in this study is the supper table in Emmaus. As memorialized in Luke 24:30, Christ broke a loaf of bread and gave it to his disciples. According to Luke’s reference, in Eastern samples, a loaf of bread is the main iconographical element in the scene, but in Western depictions, apart from a loaf of bread, some drinking cups, fish, and a knife can also be seen on the table. These details do not match the Bible’s scriptural references.

Consequently, the two scenes (On the Road to Emmaus and the Supper at Emmaus) are not popular in Christian art. This study introduces these two scenes because they are an essential testimony to Christ’s post-Resurrection depiction, as the Anastasis scene. 

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Demir, H. (2021). Two Scenes in the Post-Resurrection Cycle: On the Road to Emmaus and the Supper at Emmaus. Art-Sanat, 0(16), 123-149.


Demir H. Two Scenes in the Post-Resurrection Cycle: On the Road to Emmaus and the Supper at Emmaus. Art-Sanat. 2021;0(16):123-149.


Demir, H. Two Scenes in the Post-Resurrection Cycle: On the Road to Emmaus and the Supper at Emmaus. Art-Sanat, [Publisher Location], v. 0, n. 16, p. 123-149, 2021.

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Demir, Hatice,. Two Scenes in the Post-Resurrection Cycle: On the Road to Emmaus and the Supper at Emmaus.” Art-Sanat 0, no. 16 (Sep. 2021): 123-149.

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Demir, Hatice,. Two Scenes in the Post-Resurrection Cycle: On the Road to Emmaus and the Supper at Emmaus.” Art-Sanat, vol. 0, no. 16, 2021, pp. 123-149. [Database Container],


Demir H. Two Scenes in the Post-Resurrection Cycle: On the Road to Emmaus and the Supper at Emmaus. Art-Sanat [Internet]. 24 Sep. 2021 [cited 24 Sep. 2021];0(16):123-149. Available from: doi: 10.26650/artsanat.2021.16.0005


Demir, Hatice. Two Scenes in the Post-Resurrection Cycle: On the Road to Emmaus and the Supper at Emmaus”. Art-Sanat 0/16 (Sep. 2021): 123-149.


Published Online10.08.2021


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