Above: The Sopranos Last Supper for Vanity Fair magazine
Whenever I see popular blog posts and online articles about something in pop culture that references something historical, I always wonder if the ... ahem, younger generations know the origin of the original and how many other interpretations had been created prior to the one they tweeted, tagged, posted on 'digg' or shared on facebook.
Such is the case with a link someone sent me of fun parodies based on Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper. I'd seen the Soprano's Last Supper photo in Vanity Fair and was familiar with the Legos one, since it had been e-mailed to me a ways back. Along with those, the link included just about every pop culture version you could think of -from the Simpsons to Star Wars.
Above: The Last Supper made of Legos
This got me wondering if the people viewing it were aware that The Last Supper was a subject for many well known artists from the 14th-20th centuries, not just da Vinci. From Albrecht Durer to Rembrandt, Tintoretto to Blake, the subject was interpreted by almost every painter who painted for money for centuries. Common sense would tell you that, given that biblical scenes and stories dominated the art world long before any other subjects. But I wondered how many people e-mailing that very link also know that the piece has since been interpreted by the likes of such artists as Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst and even photographer David LaChapelle, to name a few.
Well, if they didn't, you can e-mail them this post.
I'm not going to show you the scads of photoshopped and parody versions out there in cyberspace because so many other bloggers have done that already*. Instead of parodies, I wanted to show you other fine art and photographer's interpretations of Leonardo da Vinci's famous painting. Don't groan... you may just learn something.
You are probably used to seeing the original like the one below:
But that is very enhanced for reproductions like posters, etc. To be more accurate, see the next two images (and click on them to enlarge)
Let's start with the original:
Above: before cleaning
Above: after cleaning
The subject: The Last Supper
Painted by: Leonardo da Vinci
Where: Milan, refectory of the Santa Maria delle Grazie convent
When: From 1494 to 1498
Size: 460 x 880 cm (181 x 346 in)
Technique: Tempera with oils on white lead and calcium carbonate
A site where you can see the Leonardo DaVinci's Last Supper in amazing detail, down to a pixel.
Wanna see it in person? Please note that starting from April 28th it is possible to book until 30/09/2008. entrance booking info here.
And now some wonderful fine art interpretations of the Last Supper, in chronological order:
Above: Marisol Escobar's Last Supper (1930) installation
Above: Salvador Dali's The Sacrament Of The Last Supper, 1955
Above: Mary Beth Edelson's feminist interpretation, 1971
Above: Hermann Nitsch's Last Supper (1976-9)
Above: Andy Warhol's Last Supper (pink), 1986
Above: Andy Warhol's Last Supper (Dove), 1986
above: Andy Warhol,Last Supper, 1986
Above: Damien Hirst's "Last Supper", 1999
Above: two of the 13 screenprints from Damien Hirst's "The Last Supper" collection, 1999
Above: Devorah Sperber's unusual installation, After The Last Supper, 2005
Above: Francine LeClercq's impressive Last Supper Untitled (installation), 2007
Now, some photographic interpretations of the The Last Supper for both advertising campaigns and personal collections:
above: Underwater Last Supper by photographer Howard Schatz, 2008
Above: by photographer Marcos López, 2001
Above: by photographer Cui Xiuwen, 2003
Above: by Russian film director, Mamedov
Above: by photographer David LaChapelle
Above: unknown photographer, an ad for the Folsom Street Fair
Above: controversial recreation by photographer Elisabth Ohlsen Watson
Above: Fashion shot by Frank Herholdt
Above: unknown photographer, ad for Francois Girbaud
Above: shot by Annie Liebovitz for Vanity Fair & HBO
Okay, now I know you're dying to see all the parodies (like the one below), so here are the links to those:
above: Clowns Last Supper by artist known as Dark Vomit
*An enormous collection of pop culture and television interpretations of the Last Supper from the Slog, posted by Dan Savage
And yet another collection, Suddenly Last Supper, of photoshopped, staged and fun pop culture versions from The Sopranos to Legos of The Last Supper can be found here.
For real art history buffs, here are links to just a few of the other historical religious paintings of the last supper:
Last Supper, Ickleton, Cambridgeshire, 1150-1200. Medieval Wall Painting in the English Parish Church.
Lord's Supper, German Gothic Sculptor, c 1250. Web Gallery of Art.
Last Supper/Communion of the Apostles, Liturgical Veil, 13th/14th century. Benaki Museum, Athens.
Last Supper, Wissington, Suffolk, 13th century. Medieval Wall Painting in the English Parish Church.
The Last Supper and the Agony in the Garden, Spolto, c 1300. Worcester Art Museum.
Last Supper, Fairstead, Essex, 13??. Medieval Wall Painting in the English Parish Church.
Scenes from the Life of Christ: 13. Last Supper, Giotto di Bondone, 1304-1306.
The Last Supper, Duccio di Buoninsegna, 1308-1311. CGFA.
The Last Supper, Friskney, Lincs, c 1320. Medieval Wall Painting in the English Parish Church.
The Last Supper, Pietro Lorenzetti, 1320-1330. Olga's Gallery.
The Last Supper, Jaume Serra, 1370-1400. Web Gallery of Art.
The Last Supper, Little Tey, Essex, 14??. Medieval Wall Painting in the English Parish Church.
The Last Supper, Jaume Huguet, 1450. CGFA.
Communion of the Apostles, Fra Angelico, 1451-53. CGFA.
The Last Supper, Jacopo Bassano, 1542. Galleria Borghese, Rome.
The Last Supper, Dieric Bouts, 1464-67. Web Gallery of Art.
The Last Supper, Taddeo Crivelli, 1469. Getty Museum.
The Last Supper, Jaime Huguet, 1470. Web Gallery of Art.
The Last Supper, Domenico Ghirlandaio, 1476. Web Gallery of Art
The Last Supper, Domenico Ghirlandaio, 1480. Web Gallery of Art
The Last Supper, Domenico Ghirlandaio, c 1486. Web Gallery of Art
The Last Supper, Pietro Perugino, 1493-96. Web Gallery of Art.
The Last Supper, Leonardo daVinci, 1498.
The Last Supper, Bernaert van Orley, 1500's. Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Last Supper, Little Easton, Essex, 15??. Medieval Wall Painting in the English Parish Church.
Christ Instructing Peter and John to Prepare for the Passover, Vincenzo Civerchio, 1504. National
Gallery of Art.
The Last Supper, Albrecht Dürer, 1510.
The Last Supper, Franciabigio, 1514. Web Gallery of Art.
The Last Supper, Albrecht Dürer, 1523.
The Last Supper, Andrea del Sarto, 1520-25. Web Gallery of Art.
The Last Supper, Albrecht Durer, c 1520. Lutheran Brotherhood's Collection of Religious Art
The Last Supper, Bernart van Orley, 1520-1530. Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Last Supper, Hans Holbein the Younger, 1524-25. CGFA.
Triptypch with the Last Supper, Jacob Cornelisz van Oostsanen. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
Plaque with the Last Supper, Jean Penicaud I, c 1530. National Gallery of Art.
The Last Supper, Jacopo Bassano, 1542. Borghese Barberini Corsini Spada Gallery, Milan.
The Last Supper, Juan deJuanes, 1560's. Web Gallery of Art.
The Last Supper, Tintoretto, 1592-94. Web Gallery of Art
The Last Supper, Daniele Crespi, 1624-25. Web Gallery of Art.
The Last Supper, Peter Paul Rubens, 1630. Olga's Gallery.
Glorification of the Eucharist, Rubens, 1630. Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Last Supper, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1634-35. Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Last Supper, Philippe de Champaigne, 1600's. CGFA.
The Last Supper, Nicolas Poussin, 1640's. Olga's Gallery.
The Last Supper, Gerbrand van den Eeckhout, 1664. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
The Last Supper, Simon Ushakov, 1685. History of Russian Painting.
The Last Supper, Sebastiano Ricci, 1713/1714. National Gallery of Art.
The Last Supper, William Blake, 1799. National Gallery of Art.
The Last Supper, Nikolay Gay, 1863. Olga's Gallery.
The Last Supper, Carl Bloch, 1875, Hope Gallery.
Of course I've left out hundreds, probably more like thousands, of worthy interpretations so forgive me. But now, when you see photo shopped versions of The Last Supper (and believe me, there are hundreds more to come), you'll know that the aforementioned artists did it first.
UPDATE: See Televisions casts posing as the Last Supper, From LOST to MASH here.