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The Last Supper Parodies are photoshopped or redrawn images that play off of Leonardo da Vinci’s painting depicting the last supper of Jesus and his twelve disciples.
Leonardo da Vinci painted the original The Last Supper between 1495 and 1498 on a dining room wall in the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy. The painting was meant to portray the reactions of Jesus’ twelve disciples at the moment he revealed that one of them would betray him. Though da Vinci’s painting was not the first artwork based on this Bible passage, it is the first to attempt to portray the disciples with more emotional facial expressions than previous artists Domenico Castagno and Pietro Perugino. It is traditionally considered the painting that began the High Renaissance period in art history.
Among the earliest parodies of da Vinci’s masterpiece was created by pop artist Andy Warhol, who completed a series of over 100 different pieces based on the painting in 1986. His final series of paintings, Warhol combined aspects of the original painting with images from modern pop culture, including brand logos and bright colors. Many other artworks inspired by The Last Supper came thereafter.
In April 2007, CulturePopped began compiling a list of the best parodies of the Last Supper featuring characters from television, film, and video games. They continued adding to this page throughout 2009. In March 2008, compilations of these parodies were posted to eBaum’s World and now-defunct tech blog Psychoprogs. In 2010, Last Supper themed photos were shared on Urlesque and Celebrity Odor. The next year, humor site MediaDump and tech blog Bit Rebels posted compilations. On deviantArt, there are over 3000 results for Last Supper related images. Additionally, parodies can be found on Tumblr and Funny or Die.
In Mainstream Media
Many television shows have used The Last Supper setup in episodes or promotional photography to encourage viewers to look at the show’s plot with a religious lens: setting up one character to be viewed as the savior of the group. This trend began in December 1999 when photographer Annie Leibovitz photographed the cast and creator of HBO drama The Sopranos in this manner. The photo (below left) won Life Magazine’s Alfred Eisenstaedt award in 2000 for best portrait photograph in a magazine. Battlestar Galactica and Lost have also done similar promotional photos.
Search for “The Last Supper” peaked in May 2006 with the release of the movie adaptation of Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code, which argued that the secret of the Holy Grail was encoded in the original painting.
Google Books – Leonardo da Vinci, the Last Supper: a cosmic drama and an act of redemption pg. 27