Thursday, March 28, 2013

Holy Thursday + an Israeli Last Supper


Today being Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday, on which Jesus held what some say was a Passover seder, washed his disciples' feet, and told them to love one another,  I thought I'd take a chance and post this famous controversial photo.
(You can enlarge it with a click then another click.)

The untitled work is popularly known as The Last Supper and a print hangs in the Israel Museum.

The Museum has this to say about it:
Adi Nes
Israeli, born 1966
Chromogenic print,  90 x 144 cm 
. . .
What appears to be a routine photograph of soldiers eating is, in fact, a carefully staged scene showing Nes’s characteristic attention to detail. It was inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, depicting one of the most dramatic moments in the story of Christ: the announcement of Judas’s betrayal, which led to the Crucifixion, the ultimate sacrifice.
 In Israeli society and art, the soldier is often represented as an object of reverence. Brave and confident, he is the heir to mythical figures like the pioneer.
 Nes chooses to emphasize the youthfulness of the soldiers, in transition from adolescence to adulthood, from innocence to disenchantment. They face the greatest danger of all, the risk of dying in battle.
Nes’s analogy between the iconic Christian scene and Israeli reality conveys a political message regarding commitment and sacrifice. Like Christ’s apostles, the soldiers are disciples of an ideology, a power stronger than themselves.
But they are also victims of a geopolitical constellation over which they have no control.
The bullet holes in the wall, cigarette smoke, and bitten apple are symbols of transience, reminding us that this might indeed be their last supper.
More about the photographer  in Wikipedia and in

More Last Supper images, including da Vinci's, are here


Rob Siemann said...

Oh, good: I'd heard about this, but never seen it. Yes, controversial is the word. Happy Easter to you, Dina.

VP said...

Strange and fascinating idea. I really hope this wasn't the last supper for any of these young soldiers!

Adullamite said...

First thought is it is not 'controversial' unless he is insulting Jesus with this. He is not. The scene in the painting is historically inaccurate as you know that does not matter.
Is he taking the Last Supper out of it's context, possibly, and that may demean it. However I am not sure he is trying to insult or abuse anyone.
He might be looking for fame of course!
Good thought provoking post.

I hope your weekend is what you wish it to be Dina.

Dina said...

Rob, glad you knew about the photo. "Happy Easter"?? Wait, but I'm Jewish!

VP, yes, true.

Adullamite, maybe I should have said provocative instead of controversial. Apparently many of Adi Nes' other photos are controversial for Israeli Jews. I was thinking of this paragraph from the article I linked to:

“I don’t think my work is controversial, but I understand why people might think so,” admitted Nes. “It gives the photos another layer. Being gay, being Jewish, growing up in a small town – these are all elements of my identity. My attitude is not to do something provocative.”

crystal said...

Interesting, Dina. I looked him up in Wikipedia and viewed some of his other work. Sometimes controversial photography and art help us see things in a new way.

Nonnie said...

maybe I'm strange, but I rather like it! young people put on battlegrounds never know when a meal might be their last supper. to tell the truth, none of us do. I am glad you share Jerusalem and all its sights and scenes. I most likely will never have the privilege of visiting the Holy Land, but you give me many images to feed my soul.
blessed Sabbath to you, dear Dina.

Dina said...

Crystal, glad you read about Nes.

Shalom Nonnie, thank you for your nice comment and greetings. Yes, it is a privilege to live near Jerusalem; I'm lucky.
Such intense days for Christians now during the Triduum.
Blessings to you for the coming Easter joy.

Kay said...

I recognized the da Vinci table seating. This is such an interesting take on the painting with all the symbolism.

Sara said...

That was interesting, Dina. I had not heard of this before, and enjoyed reading about it in the text you shared. I see there seems to be an extra "apostle" at the table. And noticing their sturdy army boots, the thought occurred to me that Jesus and his disciples might have appreciated having some of those to wear while tramping along the ancient Roman roads of their day.

Dina said...

Sara, some speak of a 13th, the Beloved Disciple, the disciple that Jesus loved (maybe a woman?) being at the table.
I think. Hope I got that right.

Suzanne said...

I've never seen this before, it is quite provocative. I think the write up is thoughtful. Often US soldiers who die in service are noted for making the greatest sacrifice, their life.

crystal said...

There's a lot of discussion about who the beloved disciple was supposed to be. Some say John, some say Lazarus, some say Mary M. Some say he was a kind of place-holder for people who want to be a good disciple. Interesting to speculate.

Hels said...

Clever work of art.

I took notice of what you said "Like Christ’s apostles, the soldiers are disciples of an ideology, a power stronger than themselves". No, I don't think so. These are beautiful young boys who should be at university, chasing girls and playing sport. They were conscripted to save their homes and families, not to pursue an ideology.

Dina said...

Crystal, I like that "place-holder" idea. That is new to me.

Helen, wait! Not *I* who said that. I just was quoting what the Israel Museum has on the wall next to the photo.

Hilda said...

I have to say, your three latest posts all made me hurt inside, for many and different reasons.

Reader Wil said...

Blessings for you all the week round, all the year round...
Thank you for this photo. The man in the middle and the left man standing a bit apart from the rest, look very lonely. The others are talking, smoking and laughing.

JM said...

I love different 'interpretations' of The Last Supper. I have seen some really controversial compared to this one. :-)