Medium: Commercial Advertising, Photography
Artist: Marithe and Francois Girbaud, clothing designers
Confronting Bodies: French Catholic Church, City Authorities in Milan
Dates of Action: March, 2005
Description of Artwork: The advertisement for Girbaud's latest denim collection depicts a scene similar to da Vinci's Last Supper painting. The apostles and Christ, however, are all female models wearing Girbaud clothing. Two "apostles" are embracing a man who is wearing only a pair of jeans with his naked back to the viewer.
The Incident: French Catholics who saw the advertisement criticized it as disrespectful of the Christian faith. By trivializing religious symbolism, the ad creates "moral violence" and sexualizes the sacred. Critics also claim the ad was an "aggressive act of intrusion on people's innermost beliefs." Marithe and Francois Girbaud argue the ad is based upon a painting, not the Bible, and reflects women's changing roles in society.
Results of Incident: The French Catholic Church succeeded in bringing suit against the denim company. The Court issued an injunction, ordering the ad to be removed from display. In Milan, City Authorities overseeing public advertising also banned the ad.
Source: Le Monde, 19 March 2005