In Luke 24:13-35 (cached) two disciples are making their way to Emmaus on the day of the Resurrection. They encounter someone who expounds the scriptures to them and accepts their invitation to supper upon arrival in the village. They do not recognize him as Jesus until the breaking of the bread.
The story thus allows for two scenes: one on the road and one at table. Some artworks juxtapose the two scenes, as at left, while others feature only the road (example) or the table. Caravaggio's Emmaus is an example of the latter, and also of a tendency in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to present the supper table naturalistically, with real-seeming food of various kinds. Earlier works were simpler and more in tune with the eucharistic implications of Christ's self-revelation in the breaking of the bread (example).
At left, 9th-century ivory in the Cloisters, New York City
6th-century mosaic in RavennaMenu