The Last Supper, Supersized

Sure, Jesus multipled the loaves and fishes, but he kept the fare at the Last Supper pretty simple. Artists, it turns out, haven't had the same level of restraint. Reuters reported that according to a recent study, the size of the main meal in artists' depictions of the Last Supper over the past 1,000 years "has progressively grown 69 percent; plate size has increased 66 percent and bread size by about 23 percent." How does one determine that, you might ask? Well,

The researchers analyzed 52 paintings depicting the Last Supper which were featured in the 2000 book "Last Supper" by Phaidon Press, and used computer-aided design technology to analyze the size of the main meals, or entrees, bread and the plates relative to the average size of the disciples' heads.


And the increase in portion size may reflect more than just artistic license.

This finding suggests that the phenomenon of serving bigger portions on bigger plates, which pushes people to overeat, has also occurred gradually over the same time period, said Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab.

 "The last thousand years have witnessed dramatic increases in the production, availability, safety, abundance and affordability of food," Wansink, author of "Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think," said in a statement.

 "We think that as art imitates life, these changes have been reflected in paintings of history's most famous dinner."

Kerry Weber

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