THE LAST SUPPER
Montana, USA 2018
The seeds of the idea for this staged image were planted in Art Miami in December. Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” is one of the world’s most recognised paintings and the composition has been recreated for art many times – there is no originality in the concept of a new interpretation. In order not to give a hackneyed offering there had to be creative courage and a fresh set of characters.
Montana was my best chance to be creative. I know the ghost village of Nevada City well and I knew exactly where I would shoot. I have worked with Adam – the tame bear – before, he has been used in many films and commercials over the years and is well looked after.
Art Students know only too well that the premise for the gap between Jesus and Mary in Da Vinci’s masterpiece is the subject of much debate. The consensual view is that it represents femininity and that Mary’s privileged position on Christ’s right hand side was critical to the symbolism that pervades the work.
My focus was to get that V shape as close to Da Vinci’s as possible – not the easiest of briefs given that Jesus was now a bear. There were other factors to be considered.
For a start, it was -10 degrees that afternoon and then some of the characters on the set were not the best of friends – a rather feudal rivalry exists between some villages high in the hills of Montana.
As much as possible, every character had to take the same pose as in the original and this required quite a bit of pre-shoot tutoring. Da Vinci’s work is maybe not as famous in Nevada City as it is in the Vatican City.