I was browsing yesterday, when I saw this promotional ad for the upcoming restart of Battlestar Galactica.
The full image is very impressive and instantly recognizable:
It is, of course, a homage to Leonard Da Vinci’s The Last Supper fresco:
The Last Supper
(1495-1498) by Leonardo Da Vinci
The symmetry, the center triangle, the grouping of threes, the expressions, the lack of halos around the holy figures. While this is the restored version, even the barely-visible unrestored fresco is a powerful piece. It deserves all the copies it inspires and more.
[More Last Suppers after the jump]
Other (photographic) Last Suppers
I love photographic reimaginings of the Last Supper.
One of the first ones was this one done for the women’s liberation movement:
Then, of course, you have this (in)famous Brooklyn art composite:
Yo Mama’s Last Supper
(1996) by Renee Cox
By choosing a collage, the artist emphasizes the trinities in the image while disposing of one (the windows). Renee herself is the central figure (naked) in a crucification pose. The white “disciple” would be in the Judas spot if the panel was on the left side instead of the right (mirror symmetry error by the artist?).
By modern times parodies had become ubiquitous in advertising copy. One favorite of mine was for the TV show The Sopranos:
I don’t know why it is, but homages of the Last Supper seem to inspire some pretty hefty backlash. Yo Mama was attacked by Mayor Rudy Giuliani and the Catholic Church in 2001 (pre-September 11). Thankfully, it was pre-September 11 and really tame compared to Piss Christ (1989).
Eventually, I hope righteous anger will die down, but until then, we keep rearing its ugly head:
A Tribute to Women (2005)
This photography was an advertisement for a French fashion agency. It was banned in Milan during the run up for The DaVinci Code
movie. The image is a painstaking homage in its detail right down to the forshadowing of the crucifixtion in the legs of the central model (and ). One disappointing part is the choice of a male model eliding to the myth, propgated by Dan Brown
, that the John figure is Mary Magdeline.
Which finally brings me to Last Year’s Folsom Street Fair poster:
Folsom Street Fair Poster (2007)
You can imagine how religious conservatives would react to an image with sex toys replacing the body and blood of Christ. I’ve learned to be much more tolerant, though I supposed I have to be because I live in San Francisco.
What I find clever is that the photographer deliberately chose to congregate the trinities around the Jesus figure (in this case a gay, black man), forming a triangle with their body positions in direct contrast to the peeling-away-in-horror reaction in the original fresco when Jesus tells the apostles that one among them will betray him.
I missed the event that year because I was sick, hopefully this year.
They say you can learn to be a better photographer from studying the masters of paint, photography, and cinematography. Maybe being reminded of this will help me see opportunities for symmetry, shape, and emotion in the future.
Until then, I continue to be envious of well-done posed studio photography.
Other Last Supper parodys.