Created in 1999, published as an edition of 150, The Last Supper is a series of 13 silkscreen prints by artist Damien Hirst. Imitative of pharmaceutical packaging, Meatballs uses a simple, limited pallet of four colours. The word ‘Meatballs’ replaces the medicine name, and in place of the manufacturer's logo Hirst creates another, using his own name. Hirst combines the pharmaceutical detail with his added food related content humorously: ‘Store in a dry place’ is followed by the word ‘Gravy’.
In this series Hirst takes everyday, cafeteria foods and holds them up to Christian faith and the perceived glamour of pharmaceuticals. He shows us how these medicines have become commonplace, their packaging familiar and the contents trusted. For Hirst our relationship with medicine is a belief system, very much like art or religion.
Pharmaceutical imagery, glamour and idolisation can be found early in the artist’s career in his Medicine Cabinet series. Empty medicine packaging is displayed in cabinets under titles including ‘Holidays’, ‘New York’ and ‘God’. Later, he uses similar cabinets to display brightly coloured pills and cubic zirconia.
Hirst’s ongoing questioning of human faith can be found again and again throughout his work. Signed and unnumbered (as is true of all prints in the series) this print can be considered an important piece within the artist’s catalogue raisonné.