A Hearty Helping of Art History

A Hearty Helping of Art History

A research team lead by Cornell University marketing professor Brian Wansink and his brother Craig Wansink, Professor of Religious Studies at Virginia Wesleyan College, analyzed 52 paintings of the Last Supper painted from 1000 AD to the 1700s. They found that the size of the meals and plates increased over time. Brian Wansink, author of  Mindless Eating, calls this “proportion distortion.”

The size of the main course expanded by 69 percent, plate size by 66 percent, and bread size by 23 percent. The relative sizes were determined by comparing the food and plates to the size of disciples’ heads. The results were published in the International Journal of Obesity Studies.


 “Last Supper helpings have grown,” Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times.

“Last supper ‘has been super-sized’, say obesity experts,”  BBC News.

Brian Wansink’s  Mindless Eating website.

Image (“The Super-Sized Supper, after Leonardo da Vinci”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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One Response to “A Hearty Helping of Art History”

  1. pawsinsd Says:

    Can I super-super-size it? After all, I have to hang out in the desert for three days before the resurrection. And I’d have to walk all the way to Whole foods to get hummus, tzatziki, and pita.

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