Last Supper – Parodies
There’s nothing like a couple thousand years of of repetition and an iconic painting to get story to get lodged inside the heads of the creators of pop culture. Leonardo da Vinci’s 15th century depiction of Jesus announcing that one of his 12 disciples would betray him is so ingrained in our culture that it has been co-opted by those wishing to give weight to their parodies, tributes and caricatures.
Here are just a few of the many works of art [the cool ones]:
Sopranos Last Supper -
Famed celebrity photographer Annie Leibowitz captured The Sopranos Jesus Christ pose in 1999, with Tony as the central figure in this mob of disciples and his treacherous mother Livia as Judas. Who will take on that role as the series wraps up?
House Last Supper -
Love House. Set in an operating room with a patient for a table, it mimics da Vinci’s Last Supper perfectly:
“I don’t think anyone in the picture is supposed to be ‘Judas.’ Even though Dr. Chase sits at the right spot for it, him being ‘Judas’ would not make sense in a promotional picture for the fourth season in which he plays a minor role (if it were for one of the previous seasons, then yes, sure). Surely, this might change. However, if you look at the picture, you might consider it odd, showing only 11 ‘disciples’. Thus, it is most likely that the missing person is the one who could be considered ‘Judas’ in the fourth season (maybe ‘Cut-Throat Bitch’).
As a promotional picture it would have been unwise to depict that ‘Judas’ and giving away a such important clue as to what the ‘Judas-character might be up to in the course of that season.”
Star Wars Last Supper -
Eric Deschamps was commissioned to paint this by Giant magazine before the final Star Wars installment was released:
“They wanted selected Star Wars characters in the Last Supper. I started out staying really close to the poses in the actual last supper painting then ended up straying away from them a bit to make the wide range of characters fit.” I would have preferred to see Boba Fett as Judas instead of Han Solo or Chewbacca (I can’t tell who it’s supposed to be) but I suppose that is one of the difficulties when placing all the characters into a preset image.”
“All of the characters are from the Thimble Theater strip by E.C. Segar, which later became just the Popeye comic strip. I tried to keep most of the characters in the same positions as the apostles are in Leonardo’s version, and tried to put in a few little fun things relating to the original. For instance, putting Olive in the same place as the apostle John, who some believe to be Mary Magdelene. I also had to put Brutus in the place of Judas Iscariot, and have him holding money (pieces of silver).”
From Left to right – Alice the Goon, the Sea Hag, Poopdeck Pappy, Brutus, Professor O.G. Wattasnozzle, Olive Oyl, Popeye, the Jeep, J. Wellington Wimpy, Rough House the cook, Swee’ Pea, George Geezil, Castor Oyl.
Simpsons Last Supper -
Depicting Homer Simpson with his beer-swilling disciples at Moe’s is inspired, but my one complaint is how many minor characters there are in the bar, making some guy I don’t even recognize as Judas. The image comes from the end of Thank God It’s Doomsday.
Sesame Street Last Supper -
I accept Big Bird as the Saviour, but why would Cookie Monster betray him? I suppose it would be very easy to bribe him with cookies. Brought to you by the letters J and C.
Battlestar Galactica’s Last Supper -
Last Supper pop culture homages continue to surface, easily making it one of the most imitated images for satirists. What makes this image so popular is the back story is so well know that all anyone needs to do is plug in the appropriate characters and a new story emerges.
The latest version I’ve come across is Entertainment Weekly’s Battlestar Galactica Last Supper in their preview of season four. To my unending shame I have not been watching BSG, but happily executive producer Ron Moore explains the placement of the figures:
“Gaius Baltar & Number Six: Even though Baltar seemed to be on a savior track, “that’s not really what the story is about,” explains Moore. “Baltar’s Six has proclaimed that she is delivering the gospel of the [Cylon's] one true god, so it seemed natural to place her at the center of the photo.”
Lee Adama: “The brooding (Judas-like?) former pilot is still in his civilian suit. “He does not return to flight status,” says Moore.
Watchmen Last Supper -
In the opening credits of the Watchmen, accompanied by Bob Dylan’s song The Times, They Are A ‘Changin’, the credit sequence shows a brief history of masked heroes.
The scene that stood out for me was the party for Sally Jupiter’s retirement from The Minutemen, which is based on Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper. I love that this homage/parody has once again risen in current pop culture.
Seated left to right: Mothman, Silhouette, nurse, The Comedian (in the seat of Judas), a pregnant Silk Spectre I/Sally Jupiter as the Christ figure, her husband Laurence Schexnader, Nite Owl I, Captain Metropolis, Hooded Justice.
South Park Last Supper -
A scene from the episode Margaritaville with Kyle, the Jew, as Jesus and Cartman as his Judas It’s a perfect match.
From Wikipedia: Kyle and his friends go out for pizza at Whistlin’ Willy’s and laments that he feels they won’t be able to get together like this anymore because he thinks he is going to be killed. He says he worries that one of his friends will betray him. All of them act shocked while Cartman stands up and says that whoever betrays Kyle “is a dick” and “it’s not cool!” Kyle admits to his friends while glaring accusingly at Cartman that he knows what he has to do to save everyone.
Leonardo da Vinci, You Sexy Genius You!
View all 50+ Works: Popped Culture