The Last Supper has been one of the most popular and enduring subjects in art. Drawing on the “love feast” (agape) depicted in Christian catacomb paintings, the earliest depictions of the Last Supper date back to the end of the 5th and the beginning of the 6th century C.E.6 The most famous painting of the Last Supper is Leonardo da Vinci’s monumental fresco in Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan, which depicts Christ and his Apostles at the Passover meal.
Leonardo’s Last Supper has inspired countless artists over the centuries. The most notable influence in the contemporary period can be found in the work of Andy Warhol, who produced an elaborate “Last Supper” cycle at the end of his career, a series of about 40 paintings that is considered by some critics to constitute his most important work.
A sustained refashioning of Leonardo’s masterpiece, Warhol’s work mixes the secular and the sacred, becoming more campy and kitschy with each iteration. For example, in The Last Supper (Dove), Warhol superimposes a price tag and the logos for Dove soap and General Electric over a line drawing of the Last Supper.