So you’re probably wondering why someone would choose to write about such an old (and boring) piece of art, especially one that is already so well known. Not to mention in an art class where most people are excited about modern art and street art. There are several reasons I chose this historical masterpiece; I’ll do my best to explain.
My main reason is a personal connection with this piece. Because I am a printer I had the opportunity a few years ago to print a rendering of this painting (I will bring a copy to class when I talk about this blog). When I printed it I can remember the feeling that I had to make sure everything was just right, because it was such an important historical piece. Another connection is that as a Christian the piece holds significance as the representation of a major event. Many interpretations of this painting exist such as those presented in the Da Vinci code, etc. For me the simple call for inner contemplation about being true to your beliefs as a result of Christ’s statement at the last supper that one of His followers would betray Him is the important takeaway or interpretation. Of course the institution of communion as a tradition/sacrament took place at the last supper as well, which is significant because it is practiced by all Christian religions.
On a lighter note I’d like to talk about how historical art such as Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper relates to our modern world and understanding. Famous pieces such as this one are often used in movies and video games as well as in everyday conversation. Knowledge of historical art can be important for context, so you know, for example, if someone tells you you’re painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa you know you’re severely butchering the presentation of something. It’s also helpful to better understand how culture has developed over time, so you can have a more complete perspective of current art and society.
Sometimes historical art can be used in a satirical manner. One of my favorites is Jon Stewart’s (host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show) use of the Last Supper painting in a comedy skit discussing gay marriage. Watch the clip if you have time, it’s funny—anything that includes the terminology “chicken eating Judas” has to be funny right?
- What representations of historical art can you think of in current film, video games, television, etc.?
- How has historical art impacted modern culture and art?
- What interpretations do you have of the Last Supper painting?