Damien Hirst, ‘Sausages ( The Last Supper) ’, 1999, Martin Lawrence Galleries

John 13:21-30 (The Last Supper):

21 After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.”
22 His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. 23 One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. 24 Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.”
25 Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?”
26 Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.
So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” 28 But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. 29 Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. 30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.
Depictions of the Last Supper abound within the art historical canon and while many early renditions are extraordinarily similar, contemporary artists have transformed the image. The best-known “Last Supper” is Leonardo Da Vinci’s (1452-1519) The Last Supper (1495-1498); a mural located in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy. It was commissioned by the Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza, and the image is true to the text of John 13:21, depicting Jesus and the twelve disciples at that fateful meal. Some of the many other examples of “Last Suppers” include:

· Duccio’s (1255/1260-1318/1319) The Last Supper (1305)
· Fra Angelico’s (1395-1455) The Last Supper (1450)
· Albrecht Dürer’s (1471-1528) multiple renderings of The Last Supper (1510, 1511, 1523)
· Hans Holbein the Younger’s (1497-1543) The Last Supper (1524)
· Joos van Cleve (1485-1540/1541’s) The Last Supper
· Pierre Dancart’s The Last Supper (1482-1564) in the Retable Mayor (main altarpiece) of Seville Cathedral
· Sir Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898) and Charles Fairfax Murray’s (1849-1919) The Last Supper (1865) stained glass window in Christ Church, Oxford
· Salvador Dalí’s (1904-1989) The Sacrament of the Last Supper (1955)
· Mary Beth Edelson’s (1933- ) Some Living American Women Artists/Last Supper (1971)
· Marisol Escobar’s (1930-2016) Self-Portrait Looking At the Last Supper (1984)
· Andy Warhol’s (1928-1987) The Last Supper (1986)
· Vik Muniz’s (1961- ) The Last Supper (1998)
· Zeng Fanzhi’s (1964- ) The Last Supper (2001)

Damien Hirst’s Last Supper (1999) shows the artist placing the power of pharmaceuticals in dialogue with the power of religion. Rather than depict Jesus and the twelve disciples, he gives us thirteen packages, each designed to resemble those of prescription drugs but titled as various English dietary staples. Have pharmaceuticals become our sustenance? Do they replace faith or food as what we reach for to keep us alive? Hirst’s invitation to consider these questions is intriguing.

The Last Supper series is in the collection of the Tate and they have an excellent summary of the works on their website: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/hirst-steak-and-kidney-p11643/text-summary

The thirteen prints in the series are also currently on display at The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. from August 13 – January 1, 2017.

Signature: Signed by the Artist

Image rights: Martin Lawrence Galleries

About Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst first came to public attention in London in 1988 when he conceived and curated "Freeze," an exhibition in a disused warehouse that showed his work and that of his friends and fellow students at Goldsmiths College. In the nearly quarter of a century since that pivotal show (which would come to define the Young British Artists), Hirst has become one of the most influential artists of his generation. His groundbreaking works include The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991), a shark in formaldehyde; Mother and Child Divided (1993) a four-part sculpture of a bisected cow and calf; and For the Love of God (2007), a human skull studded with 8,601 diamonds. In addition to his installations and sculptures, Hirst’s Spot paintings and Butterfly paintings have become universally recognized.

British, b. 1965, Bristol, United Kingdom, based in London, United Kingdom