In the picture: Robert Powell, Colin Firth, Tom Conti and Sir Michael Gambon
A star cast of British actors and directors have recreated Leonardo da Vinci’s painting ‘The Last Supper’ as part of an initiative by London’s National Portrait Gallery.
Conceived by photographer Alistair Morrison, ‘Actors’ Last Supper’ is a group photograph of leading figures from the British stage recreating ‘The Last Supper’. It features John Alderton, Sir Richard Eyre, Steven Berkoff, Tim Pigott-Smith, Sir Antony Sher, Julie Walters, Robert Powell, Colin Firth, Tom Conti, Sir Michael Gambon, Simon Callow, Peter Eyre and Anthony Andrews.
Morrison asked the actors and directors to react to Jesus’ proclamation that one of the disciples would betray him, with Leonardo’s painting as the inspiration. A table was styled on the morning of the shoot with a selection of food, red wine and water bought from a local supermarket. As a tribute to great actors of the past, Morrison placed prints of his photographs of Sir Laurence Olivier, Sir Peter Ustinov, Sir Alec Guiness, Sir John Gielgud and Oliver Reed on the table.
Morrison said: “My first two choices were Robert Powell who had to be Jesus, recreating the famous role played in Franco Zeffirelli’s ‘Jesus Of Nazareth’ and Julie Walters, who was asked to play Mary Magdalene (there has been speculation about whether it was Mary Magdalene or John the Apostle who was seated next to Jesus) and they both readily agreed. Their enthusiasm and influence helped to bring together this outstanding group of actors.”
The National Portrait Gallery acquired ‘Actor’s Last Supper’ in 2012. It is the first time the gallery has opened a display space of prints made from portraits in its collection that visitors can buy. ‘Actors’ Last Supper’ can be bought as part of a limited edition of 10 prints for £11,125 unframed (£12,375 framed). A special landscape postcard of the portrait costs £2.99 and a mounted postcard £9.99.