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Vicari’s ‘Last Supper’by Gary Reading, Jul 2019
A CONTROVERSIAL painting of Harry Secombe as a disciple and former Wales rugby captain Clem Thomas as Jesus at the Last Supper is to be shown in Wales again, 40 years after its was unveiled.
Andrew Vicari, the world’s richest painter, will exhibit some of his most famous works when he returns to Wales for his first public show in his homeland in more than 40 years.
Taking centre stage will be Vicari’s Last Supper which caused a stir when it was first shown in the early 1960s. The artist painted friends into the picture, such as Sir Harry as Matthew and actors Stanley Baker as Thomas and Richard Harris as Judas.
“That painting really did ruffle a few feathers and it has remained in my private collection ever since,” the Port Talbot-born artist said.
“Other works that I did around that time will also be on display, including my 1959 portrait of another Welsh artist, Augustus John, and my own mentor, Francis Bacon.
“There will be a few scenes from my time spent covering the Gulf War in the Middle East, but the majority of the 50 or more works will have a Welsh theme.
“Portraits of Dr Kate Roberts, Alun Hoddinott, Huw Griffiths, playing King Lear, and Archdruid Cynan will be shown, as will one of the master Welsh steelmaker Captain Leighton Davies.”
Vicari, who is now based in Monaco and who has reached the giddy heights of number 18 on The Sunday Times Rich List, will be exhibiting at Hensol Castle in the Vale of Glamorgan.
“It has been a long, long time since I last had an exhibition in Wales,” he said.
“In fact, you have to go back to 1961 when I showed 30 oils and drawings for the Contemporary Arts Society at University College, Cardiff.”
The retrospective of Vicari’s work will open in the spring and last for a month.
Before the end of the show he will return to the Middle East, where he has made millions painting high-profile Arabs.
While there Vicari will continue work on his next big assignment, painting the biggest canvas in the world.
He will be paid a staggering £25m by King Fahd of Saudi Arabia when it is completed.
He has already started sketches for his Parable of Majesty, which will comprise 88 panels and will take an esti-mated two years to complete.
The completed work will be a synthesis of all his pieces.
“There will be 20 principal figures, a supporting cast of a further 500 characters, 100-200 animals, dramatic landscape and spectacular architecture,” he said.