Around 1682, abbot Crils commissions Jan Erasmus Quellinus to paint two giant canvases for the abbey’s refectory. Set against a grand architectural backdrop, the biblical story of Jesus invited by Simon the Pharisee unfolds. The Wedding at Cana is more clearly laid out. Jan Erasmus Quellinus sought inspiration with Venetian architect Andrea Palladio who, in his turn, looked at antiquity to inspire him.
This neo-gothic church from the 1850s, with its simple, monochrome white, narrow interior, is the centre of the abbey where the Norbertine monastic community celebrate the daily Eucharist. The Da Vinci museum in the abbey also houses a close replica of Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous 1498 fresco of the Last Supper on the wall of the dining hall in the Dominican monastery in Milan. Legend has it that the work of almost 34 sqm in Tongerlo was painted by Da Vinci’s pupil Andrea Solario, under the watchful eye of the master himself. Whatever the truth may be, some experts have proclaimed it the best replica of the fading original.