Andy Warhol, ‘The Last Supper’, 1986, Gallery On The Move

In 1984, gallerist Alexandre Iolas, commissioned Warhol to create a group of works based on Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper, for an exhibition in the palazzo Delle Stelline in Milan, across the street from Santa maria delle Grazie, home of Leonardo's masterpiece. Warhol produced nearly 100 variations of the theme, indicating an almost obsessive investment in the subject matter, which takes on an added significance in light of the revelation of the secret religious life revealed after Warhol's death, which occurred one month after the opening of the Milan exhibition in January 1987. The Last Supper, is unquestionably Andy Warhol's greatest work.

By 1983 Iolas was very disappointed with Greece, the country which he had selected as home and where he had a large villa built which housed one of the most important modern art collections in the world, a collection of 20th-century masterpieces masterfully displayed alongside classical antiquities. False accusations of looting of antiquities spiraled out of control with the then nascent yellow press of the country literally feasting on his eccentric lifestyle and dragging his name into the mud. -N. Stathoulis

Iolas’ choice of da Vinci’s Last Supper’ was therefore quite symbolic of his frame of mind.
The original work itself is a very dramatic piece. It depicts, in life size, the moment when Jesus announces to the apostles his imminent betrayal by one of them. In a scene filled with dismay and utter confusion, da Vinci explores their immediate reactions to this grave statement in a variation of pauses that range from astonishment, to anger and even horror, making this one of the greatest masterpieces ever created.
The cinematographic possibilities of isolating fragments from this larger-than-life ensemble in order to explore these moments artistically and psychologically allowed Andy to take his serial painting to levels never before attained.

Signature: Andy Warhol

Image rights: Andy Warhol

Publisher: Alexandre Iolas

Private collection, Milan

About Andy Warhol

Obsessed with celebrity, consumer culture, and mechanical (re)production, Pop artist Andy Warhol created some of the most iconic images of the 20th century. As famous for his quips as for his art—he variously mused that “art is what you can get away with” and “everyone will be famous for 15 minutes”—Warhol drew widely from popular culture and everyday subject matter, creating works like his 32 Campbell's Soup Cans (1962), Brillo pad box sculptures, and portraits of Marilyn Monroe, using the medium of silk-screen printmaking to achieve his characteristic hard edges and flat areas of color. Known for his cultivation of celebrity, Factory studio (a radical social and creative melting pot), and avant-garde films like Chelsea Girls (1966), Warhol was also a mentor to artists like Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. His Pop sensibility is now standard practice, taken up by major contemporary artists Richard Prince, Takashi Murakami, and Jeff Koons, among countless others.

American, 1928-1987, Pittsburgh, PA, United States, based in New York, NY, United States