The Italian Almanac


Italian News - February 5

When a clothes company tried presenting a group of well-dressed women in a Last Supper style pose, their poster campaign was banned in Milan. The poster, by French fashion house Marithé and François Gribaud, is a version of Leonardo da Vinci's work with an almost all-female cast.

The poster has been plastered on walls, billboards and magazines in New York and Paris for weeks. In Milan, where Leonardo's fresco is preserved and the influence of the Vatican is never far away, city authorities have banned it.

Their decision follows a ruling by the city advertising watchdog last month. This Last Supper "inevitably recalls the very foundations of the Christian faith", said the Istituto di Autodisciplina Pubblicitaria (Institute for Self Discipline in Advertising). "This kind of image, with a high concentration of theological symbols, cannot be recreated and parodied for commercial ends without offending the religious sensitivities of at least part of the population."

The company says the image is not offensive but a tribute to women. It was inspired by Dan Brown's bestseller The Da Vinci Code, which suggests that the figure of John the Baptist in Da Vinci's masterpiece is actually Mary Magdalen in disguise.