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Roy de Maistre (1894-1968)
The Supper at Emmaus, 1958
 
Oil on Canvas
60cm x 50cm
Loaned by Trustees of the Methodist Modern Art Collection
 
The Supper at Emmaus
De Maistre shows Jesus, in a white gown, positioned centrally at the table with one of his disciples on the left and the other sitting at the side of the table. Jesus is breaking the bread and has an apple (or some other green fruit) in front of him. More fruit (including a pear and black grapes) lie on a plate or bowl on the table. The disciples are portrayed just as recognition dawns on them that their companion is Jesus. The wounds, the nail hole in Jesus’ left hand and the wound of the spear in his side are clearly visible and confirm their realisation.

In 1958, De Maistre was one of several artists approached by St Edmond Hall in Oxford to paint a Supper at Emmaus for the college chapel. Ceri Richards was eventually selected, and the Methodist Collection includes a study of this painting.
(Seeing the Spiritual – A Guide to the Methodist Modern Art Collection, 2018)
 
Biographical Details
Born in 1894 in Bowrai, New South Wales, de Maistre studied at the Royal Art Society of New South Wales from 1913-16 before attending the Sydney Art School.

‘Little known during his life (the catalogue for his 1960 retrospective drew attention to his unfamiliarity among the general public and the scant attention he received from the art world as well), de Maistre is perhaps largely forgotten today. Yet he is an important figure in the twentieth century art history of his native Australia, and also in Britain) he lived in England from 1938 until his death in 1968). Initially as interested in music as art (he studied both), some of his early work was concerned with the relationship between music and art and he developed an interest in colour which has been compared to a musical approach and which continued to inform his work throughout his life.

He developed a very personal style, combining elements from cubism and traditional realism and can be regarded as one of the century’s major religious artists, successfully tackling the difficult task of painting religious works which are contemporary in idiom but which can stand alongside the masterpieces of the past that so colour and influence our expectations’.
(Seeing the Spiritual – A Guide to the Methodist Modern Art Collection, 2018)