A chair for St. Philip at Leonardo’s Last Supper: LOAVES&FISHES by Alessandro Zambelli
A miracle has a logic of its own. Elusive and mysterious, it is hard to pin down in words, let alone to capture in one or more images. But to express it as an object, in the physicality of daily life is, perhaps, a near-impossibility. That is what Alessandro Zambelli attempts. He focuses on one of the best-known miracles of Christian tradition; the only one recounted in all four gospels. The result is the chair LOAVES&FISHES (St. Philip).
This mosaic of rectangular panels embodies the symbols of the miraculous event and, at the same time, reveals its essence. The blue of the sea and the gold of the corn stand for the multiplied loaves and fishes and also recur with St. Philip. The number 5, so significant in the gospel accounts, is traditionally this saint’s ranking among the apostles. However, the chair itself seems almost ‘lifted’ from the cupola of the Pantheon in Rome. In fact that might be one way of looking at LOAVES&FISHES: as an everyday ‘Pantheon’ on a smaller, more domesticated scale, like a reassuring piece of votive architecture in the home.
LOAVES&FISHES is on display at MAC Contemporary Art Museum in Lissone from 19 October to 1 December, as part of the exhibition “(1:13) - The Thirteen Chairs Leonardo Never Painted in the Last Supper.” Thirteen designers imagine and interpret the 13 chairs of the apostles ‘hidden’ in the great work of art.