Last Supper Sculpture
A highlight in the St. Joseph Center and Museum is the impressive 22
foot-long wood sculpture of the life-size Last Supper, one of only three
in-the-round design wood sculptures in the world.
The Last Supper was completed in 1993 by award-winning carver Jerry Traufler
of Le Mars, Iowa after seven years of work. He started with a pencil outline
and then took the unique approach of shaping the characters based on his
wife and friends, who posed for photographs dressed as individual apostles.
While Traufler based his outline on the Leonardo Da Vinci painting, his
use of friends gives the sculpture a special look. At the Last
Supper Jesus announced to His disciples that one among them was
about to betray
Him. Traufler worked to capture the apostle's various expressions
conveying attention, questions and discussion.
There are 12 apostles and Jesus in the Last Supper sculpture -- with
James and Andrew sculpted as one unit. Each figure weighs 200 to 300 lbs.
The work of art also includes individually carved goblets and unleavened
bread on a massive table. The wood is basswood and pine.
Thanks to the artistic skill and dedication of Jerry Traufler, the Last
Supper can be viewed today in the beautiful octagon room of the St. Joseph
Center-Museum where it is now on permanent display.
About the Sculptor
Jerry Traufler and his wife, Arlene, wanted to have this religious
work on display in the Midwest, and donated the sculpture to Trinity
Heights in 1993. The work was a great achievement after nearly 20 years
of woodcarving that began in 1975.
Traufler, a postal employee, had entered and won numerous national and
international competitions including, the Canadian National Exhibition,
Toronto; International Woodcarvers Congress, Davenport; Fur Rendevoux,
Anchorage, Alaska; Iowa Woodcarvers Show, Waterloo, Iowa; and the California