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Battlestar Galactica, Leonardo da Vinci and faithful machines

Battlestar Galactica – Profound Odyssey in Outer Space

The remake of the cult series Battlestar Galactica is certainly one of the most exciting, challenging and profound series ever. The Science Fiction setting impresses above all with its well thought-out and realistic portrayal of spaceships, utilities or technology.

Logo of the tv shower TV-Serie (2004 bis 2009)
Image via Wikipedia

But much more captivating are the big questions, which take up ethical, political or social problems and do not give simple answers. How does a society that is on the verge of extinction behave? Whose social structures have collapsed and the foundations of civilization have proven to be rather thin? What drives people (and machines)?

Faith, Creation, Resurrection

Faith and creation play a special role in BSG. On the one hand there is the polytheistic humanity, whose religion is based on ancient Greece. On the other side are the monotheistic Cylons, who were created by humans and consider themselves their children and creation. Which does not stop them from rebelling against their creators and almost wiping them out.

A Darwinian representation of Cylon evolution
Image via Google Image Search

In the all-dominant religion of the Cylons, but also in their technology, there are clear references to Christianity. Beside a single deity, whose love the almost human machines want to win, for example the topic of the bodily resurrection after death also plays a prominent role, fitting to Easter.

The Last Supper

Promotion picture for Battlestar Galactica in the style of the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci
Image via

Today’s picture sums up all these conflicts and issues quite well. It is not a scene from the series itself, but a marketing image. The model is the famous mural painting “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci, which he created from 1494-97 on the north wall of the dining room in the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan.

“The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci on the north wall of the refectory in the Dominican monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, 1494 to 1497
Image via Wikipedia

The parallels between the two works are clear, from the central perspective and the arrangement of the persons to details such as the knife or a chalice. The closed room structure with its four niches and one door (here, of course, a bulkhead in true style) also takes up da Vinci’s work.

But there are some differences: the BSG version seems to be mirror-inverted and the central person stands. And of course everything was adapted to the Science Fiction design. It is also astonishing that plates and food are completely missing, but instead several books are shown.

A different version
Image via

Furthermore, the picture looks much more dynamic than the original from the Renaissance. On the one hand, this should generally correspond to the Zeitgeist. On the other hand, it’s also a picture to promote the series, which is why more drama and conflict is necessary. And of course it corresponds more to our viewing habits and our expectations in the narrative context of a tv show.

It is an extraordinarily fascinating picture that works wonderfully as an appetizer for the demanding series with its depth and complex narrative structure.

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