It’s easier to picture Andy Warhol partying than praying, but pray he did.
Warhol was born into a Byzantine Catholic family in Pittsburgh. His older brother, John Warhola, said that Andy was sickly and spent much of his childhood at home with their mother, eating Campbell’s soup at the kitchen table, while gazing at a print of Leonardo DaVinci’s Last Supper.
Warhol was commissioned to create works, based on Last Supper, for an exhibit in the Palazzo Stelline in Milan across the street from the famous masterpiece. Warhol created a series of works, including a 32 foot long by 12 foot high Last Supper.
Andy took considerable pride in financing his nephew’s studies for the priesthood. And he regularly helped out at a shelter serving meals to the homeless and hungry. Trust Andy to have kept these activities in the dark. — John Richardson, Art historian
He didn’t worked from the original, instead he used a plastic sculpture that he bought at a gas station on the New Jersey Turnpike. Warhol had an audience with Pope John Paul ll at the Vatican in 1980, one of the rare public displays of Warhol’s faith.
Art historian, John Richardson, surprised many of the mourners at Warhol’s funeral, when he said, “I’d like to recall a side of his character that he hid from all but his closest friends; his spiritual side. Those of you who knew him in circumstances that were the antithesis of spiritual may be surprised that such a side existed. But exist it did, and it’s key to the artist’s psyche. Although Andy was perceived—with some justice—as a passive observer who never imposed his beliefs on other people, he could on occasion be an effective proselytizer. To my certain knowledge, he was responsible for at least one conversion. He took considerable pride in financing his nephew’s studies for the priesthood. And he regularly helped out at a shelter serving meals to the homeless and hungry. Trust Andy to have kept these activities in the dark. The knowledge of this secret piety inevitably changes our perception of an artist who fooled the world into believing that his only obsessions were money, fame, glamour, and that he could be cool to the point of callousness. Never take Andy at face value….”
Warhol created many versions of the Last Supper, many more Pop than traditional, using corporate logos, Harley Davidson wings and the Wise potato chip owl.
Warhol’s celebrity portraits are as iconic as the idols he portrayed. It’s not easy to top the celeb status of Christ and the Apostles, but Warhol came pretty close with his diamond dusted screenprint of Santa Claus, available in our gallery, as of this writing. With the holidays coming up, Warhol’s Santa under the tree would be a fabulous surprise for any Warhol collector.
An iconic place where iconic people have been making films since 1912, Paramount Studio’s logo is one of the best known in the world. Warhol’s Paramount is in our gallery, along with many other Warhol works.
Warhol may have kept his religious beliefs a secret, but seeing him in this light puts a new slant on the way we view his work. If you’re interested in the spiritual side of the artist and his work, you might enjoy The Religious Art of Andy Warhol by art historian and curator, Jane Daggett. We welcome you to visit Vertu to see the the works of Andy Warhol and the other wonderful artists in our gallery.