Marisol (Marisol Escobar) (American, born France, 1930)
Painted and drawn wood, plywood, brownstone, plaster, aluminum; 121 1/2 x 358 x 61 in. (307.6 x 909.9 x 154.9 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Roberto C. Polo, 1986 (1986.430.1–129)
© Marisol Escobar/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Leonardo da Vinci's famous fresco The Last Supper is the basis for Marisol's contemporary sculptural assemblage. In this monumental thirty-foot-long construction (matching the fresco's length), Marisol faithfully translates the illusionistic perspective of the painting into three-dimensional form and space. The fresco's ambiguities (between reality and illusion and plane and volume) resonate in the sculpture, where our perception constantly shifts between two dimensions and three as the seated figures are neither fully rounded nor consistently flat.
The central figure of Christ is beautifully chiseled from a block of salvaged New York City stone, while the rest of the figures and the table items are assembled from more than a hundred painted and drawn pieces of wood. Looking serene and ashen, and already otherworldly in spirit, Christ's physical solidity provides the visual and emotional anchor for this dramatic scene. Seated across the room from The Last Supper, a single wooden figure representing the artist herself scrutinizes her handiwork. Her watchful presence reaffirms the point that art is about looking, evaluating, and reinventing what one sees.
Born Marisol Escobar in France to Venezuelan parents, Marisol studied art in Paris before moving to New York in 1950. Between 1951 and 1954, she attended the Hans Hofmann School (Provincetown, Massachusetts), the New School for Social Research (New York), and the Art Students League (New York). Although Marisol's work never fit comfortably into any one category, her use of popular culture imagery allied her with America's Pop artists in the 1960s.