Who were the 12 Apostles (disciples) at The Last Supper?

da vinci last supper

In preparation for Easter, I thought I’d do a post on the Last Supper. For starters, who were the 12 apostles (disciples) at The Last Supper?


So who were the 12 apostles (disciples) at The Last Supper?

1. Who was Bartholomew?

saint bartholomew

Bartholomew, 1 of the 12 apostles is always referred to as Nathanael. Bartholomew is a Hebrew surname meaning “son of Tolmai.” So Nathanael is the son of Tolmai, or Nathanael Bar-Tolmei. In the gospel of John, Jesus says of Bartholomew – “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.”

2. James, son of Alphaeus

what are the names of the 12 disciples?

St James the Minor by Rubens

James son of Alphaeus, also known as ‘James the Less’ spent three years with Jesus witnessing his teachings and miracles.  He is also labelled “the minor”, “the little”, “the lesser”, or “the younger”, according to translation.


3. Who was the disciple known as Andrew?

who were the 12 apostles?

Saint Andrew the Apostle by Tournier

Andrew the Apostle was born between AD 5 and AD 10 and was initially a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee. Andrew was also one of the four disciples closest to Jesus.  He was the first of the disciples to be called to follow Jesus. Exactly for this reason the liturgy of the Byzantine Church honours him with the nickname: “Protokletos” [protoclete], which means, precisely, “the first called”.


4. Judas Iscariot

judas iscariot

Judas Iscariot by Ge

What do we know about the disciple Judas Iscariot? Judas Iscariot lived near the beginning of the first century A.D. and was the only disciple to come from Judah and not Galilee. He is renowned for betraying Jesus to the Sanhedrin in the Garden of Gethsemane by kissing him in exchange for 30 pieces of silver.  The Bible tells us that he was the treasurer for the disciples but that: “he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

5. Peter

peter the apostle by el greco

Peter by El Greco

Originally named Simon, Peter was a fisherman from Galilee. Jesus changed his name to Peter, which means ”rock”. The apostle Peter was the first leader of the early Church and according to Christian tradition,  was crucified in Rome under Emperor Nero. When he was given the choice of how he should die, he said, “I’d like to be crucified up-side-down because I am unworthy to die as my Lord died.” All four Gospels state that during Jesus’ Last Supper with his apostles, Jesus predicted that Peter would deny knowledge of him, stating that he would disown him before the rooster crowed the next morning.


6. John

who were the 12 apostles?

Saint John by Borovikovsky

John, the apostle is listed as the youngest apostle. His brother was James, who was another of the Twelve Apostles.


7. Thomas

saint thomas velazquez

Saint Thomas by Velazquez

Thomas is widely known as “Doubting Thomas” because he doubted Jesus’ resurrection when first told of it.  Thomas later, confessed his faith, “My Lord and my God,” on seeing Jesus’ crucifixion wounds.


8. James the Greater

James the Great by Reni

James the Great by Guido Reni

James the Greater is described as one of the first disciples to join Jesus.  He was also the first disciple to be martyred, when in AD 44 Herod Agrippa ordered his death. James the Apostle is also famed for spreading Christianity in Spain.


9. Philip

names of the 12 apostles

Philip by Rubens

Philip is described as a disciple from the city of Bethsaida. The disciple Philip was also among those surrounding John the Baptist when the latter first pointed out Jesus as the Lamb of God.


10. Matthew

rembrandt matthew

Matthew by Rembrandt

Matthew was one of the witnesses of the Ascension of Jesus. He was also from Galilee and as a tax collector, he would have been literate in Aramaic and Greek.


11. Jude Thaddeus

Apostle jude

Apostle Jude by Van Dyck

The apostle Jude Thaddeus is generally identified with Thaddeus, and is also variously called Jude of James, Jude Thaddaeus, Judas Thaddaeus or Lebbaeus. Saint Jude’s attribute is a club. He is also often shown in icons with a flame around his head. This represents his presence at Pentecost, when he received the Holy Spirit with the other apostles.


12. Simon the Zealot

rubens simon the apostle

Apostle Simon by Rubens

Simon the Zealot was 28 years old when he became one of the apostles and supposedly preached the Gospel in Egypt. Simon is also one of the most obscure apostles.


The Last Supper

The Last Supper, a pivotal moment in the Christian calender depicts the final meal Jesus had with his disciples in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. Research shows they would have eaten a meal that included lamb, bean stew, olives, dates, bitter herbs, a fish sauce and unleavened bread. All of which were typical of Palestinian cuisine when Jesus was alive.

Now, we all know the famous Da Vinci Last Supper painting shown above. But why exactly is Da Vinci’s Last Supper so famous?


Why is this Da Vinci’s The Last Supper so famous?

Who were the 12 apostles?

  1. 1. The renowned Da Vinci painted it.


  1. 2. The Last Supper was actually famous in his lifetime and helped to solidify his career. Over the next century it became one of the most copied paintings all across Europe.


  1. 3. The gospels tell us that Jesus at The Last Supper proclaims: “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me…” and in this painting Da Vinci has executed this moment beautifully and skillfully. All 13 characters have been painted on the same plane, which is tremendously difficult task to achieve and all figures are clearly unique.


  1. 4. The fact that the 15th century mural has survived environmental damage, bombs and a restoration (the Last Supper underwent a restoration in the 1800s and the men doing it nearly broke the mural apart) is a miracle in itself.


Where is The Last supper housed?

The Last Supper is housed in the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy. It is a mural and measures 460 cm × 880 cm (180 in × 350 in).


When did The Last Supper occur?

Well, the Christian Church tells us that The Last Supper happened on a Thursday (Maundy Thursday). Maundy is derived from the Latin word for “command,” and refers to Jesus’ commandment to his disciples to “Love one another as I have loved you.” However, Prof. Colin Humphreys of Cambridge University says that it actually occurred on a Wednesday. Wednesday 1 April AD33. If you’re interested in learning more about this, the BBC have an interesting article on the timeframe


Where did The Last Supper take place?

last supper

Traditionally, the Last Supper was said to be held on Mount Zion, in a building known as the Cenacle.


What are some interesting facts about Da Vinci’s Last Supper?

  1. 1. The Last Supper took 3 years to complete and was started in 1495


  1. 2. It depicts the reactions of all 12 apostles when Jesus announces that one of them is going to betray him.


  1. 3. It is a mural not a painting.


  1. 4. Very little of the Last Supper still remains today. When Da Vinci started the mural he didn’t have very much expertise in it. It has also undergone many restoration efforts.


  1. 5. It is housed in a monastery and not a museum.


  1. 6. There is a theory that every apostle was painted after a real person and that therefore Judas was modeled on a real criminal.


  1. 7. Some conspiracy theories say that the apostle sitting next to the right of Christ is not the apostle John but Mary Magdalene.


Would you like to commission a hand painted reproduction oil painting of Da Vinci’s Last Supper or another Easter painting?

last supper


Have a question?

We’d love to hear from you! If you would like to add something, or ask a question concerning art reproductions please leave a comment below or email: [email protected]


Who are we?

art reproduction

We’re a fine art reproduction company called Fabulous Masterpieces that solely concentrates on painting museum quality art reproductions onto canvas. We’ve even produced a magazine on the topic to help you out if you want to learn more about fine art copies. Just click on the image above.

Bye for now!

Anna X

PS. You might also be interested in looking at these 19 famous Easter Paintings that tell the Easter story.

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