St. Albans Cathedral, one of Britain’s oldest churches, is paying homage to the Black Lives Matter movement by installing a version of Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, The Last Supper with Jesus cast as a Black prophet.
Painted by Lorna May Wadsworth and dubbed A Last Supper, casts Jamaican-born model Tafari Hinds as the son of God. This reinterpretation of the original 15th Century artwork will be installed on the July 4 weekend at the cathedral. The 9-foot print will be placed at the altar of St. Albans Cathedral in Hertfordshire. This decision follows a move prompted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.
In an effort to reconcile centuries-long European colonisation, the Archbishop asked Church of England officials to consider that Jesus Christ of Nazareth was not white. He also went on to challenge churchgoers to embrace the multiple representations of Jesus, regardless of the Messiah’s depicted ethnicity.
On Twitter he wrote, “Jesus was Middle Eastern, not white. It’s important we remember this. But the God we worship in Christ is universal, and the hope he offers is good news for us all. Here are some of my favourites images of Christ from around the world. What are yours?”
Along with the tweet, he also posted four pictures depicting Jesus.
A user, @BelleBoite1 tweeted back with a response that the oldest surviving image of Christ is from Egypt and that the Archbishop was “racial gerrymandering” through the initiative.
Another user tweeted back saying, “… Jesus and even Muhammad are portrayed as white. Why? Because it’s light against darkness.”
St. Albans Cathedral, which dates back to the eighth century, also has a copy of the original da Vinci artwork that hangs in the church, and the new depiction shall be an addition. The cathedral will be open to the public from Saturday, July 4 onwards where visitors will be able to see the new artwork.
Interesting trivia about The Last Supper
According to Leonardodavinci.net, “The Last Supper is a very popular religious scene painted by many celebrated artists. Unlike artists before and after him, Leonardo da Vinci chose not to put halos on Jesus Christ. Many art historians believe that Leonardo da Vinci believe in nature, not in God. To Leonardo, nature is God, so he treated every character in the fresco as common people.”
The site also adds that the existing mural is not “100% da Vinci’s work”.
An attempt was made at restoring the original as accurately as possible by using microscopic photographs, core samples, infrared reflectoscopy and sonar to remove the added layers of paint. Art critics however believe that only a fraction of the painting is the work of the Renaissance-era painter, Leonardo da Vinci.