Wedding at Cana

Carlo Bononi

Ferrara, 1569-1632


Oil on canvas, 355 x 688cm

The enormous size of this canvas can be explained by its original location in the refectory at the Chiesa di San Cristoforo in Ferrara. On the basis of its subject and context, this work joins a long artistic tradition that privileged the first manifestation to the apostles of Christ’s glory (John 2:1-11). Bononi focuses its composition on a wealth of secondary details and characters: servants, musicians, waiters, hosts and dinner guests alike move in a circular motion around the table where Jesus sits. The scene follows a framework directly inspired by Federico Barocci’s Last Supper, painted for the Cattedrale di Urbino a few years previously and studied by Bononi during his visit to the Marche. By now a mature artist, the Ferrarese painter developed a mis-en-scène that seems to imagine the banquets at the Estense court during its golden age. This work is recorded at the Pinacoteca from 1846 onwards.