Background information from the Morgan Library & Museum about the artwork:
“The Last Supper,” a leaf cut from a Gradual (II), in Latin, illuminated by the artist Don Silvestro dei Gherarducci probably for Paolo Venier, the abbot of the Monastery of San Michele à Murano, at Santa Maria degli Angeli in Florence, Italy, between 1392 and 1399. The vellum sheet features a large historiated initial C, appropriately illustrating the Introit for the Mass of Corpus Christi, which was composed by St. Thomas Aquinas: “Cibavit eos ex adipe frumenti” (“He fed them with the finest of wheat”). The leaf was originally folio 78 of the Gradual, for its recto bears the number LXXVIII. The illumination singles out Judas because he is about to put bread in his mouth and has a red purse and a black halo decorated with scorpions. Judas was likened to the scorpion because of his treacherous kiss. Aquinas had also observed that scorpions signified men plotting in secret. John, the beloved apostle, is fast asleep as his Master’s hand is raised in blessing. The gesture, linked with that of consecration, connects the Last Supper with the institution of the Eucharist. The musical notation on the leaf features four-line staves with square notes and accompanying text, written by the scribe Don Jacopo (Giacobbo de Francesco) according to Vasari. The leaf was put up for sale by a private owner in 1907 and acquired by J. Pierpont Morgan in 1909, becoming part of the Morgan Library & Museum’s Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts collection.
Introit text taken from Psalm 81 v. 16.