The Federal Council photo 2023 is reminiscent of one of the most famous works of art in the world:
Sermin Fakipolitical chief
A table in front of a three-part window front; sitting, standing and gesticulating around a man in the centre. This description applies to two pictures: Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper – and the Federal Council photo 2023.
Well, there are more people on Da Vinci’s masterpiece, but otherwise there are numerous parallels. The similarity between the two images is not without a certain irony. According to Federal President Alain Berset (50), the Federal Council photo is supposed to show “that the members of the Federal Council work well together despite different points of view and work together for Switzerland”, Da Vinci’s Last Supper shows the moment when Jesus prophesied to his disciples on the evening before his crucifixion : «One of you will betray me.»
Betrayal instead of cooperation
If you look back at the last few weeks and months, the reference is not badly chosen – albeit unconsciously: The mood in the state government was bad and characterized by distrust, could be heard everywhere. The intrigues surrounding the Federal Council elections at the beginning of December and the distribution of departments were more reminiscent of ice-cold power politics and intrigues than of “joint efforts for Switzerland”. Berset in particular got pretty much under the wheels.
The symbolic allusions also speak for a relationship of the pictures. The meaning of even the smallest hint to Da Vinci has been disputed for centuries, but the Federal Council photo by Vaud photographer Matthieu Gafsou is also bursting with symbolism.
compass and constitution
In the picture taken in the Bernerhof, the “home” of the new finance minister and strong woman in government, Karin Keller-Sutter (59), the seven members of the Federal Council and Federal Chancellor Walter Thurnherr (59) form a college but also interact in small groups.
According to the media release, the landscape in the background is intended to symbolize the outside world and “the actions of the Federal Council with those of the people”. On the table are a compass, a map of Switzerland and a bound copy of the Federal Constitution – which is also symbolic. 2023 celebrates the constitution, celebrating its 175th anniversary. A poem by Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz is written on the sheets of paper flying around the room. They are said to represent the chaos and tensions in the world.
Ambitious student, strong man
For the first time, the two new Federal Councilors are also shown in the official photo of the state government – and the symbolism is not very flattering, at least for SP Mrs. Elisabeth Baume-Schneider (58): While she is diligently taking notes like a new student who still has to learn makes, SVP man Albert Rösti (55) is already fully integrated and sometimes hits the table with his hand.
However, the strong personality in the picture is Defense Minister Viola Amherd (60). She energetically supports her hands on the table, the leather lapel of her jacket underlines the role of the ruler. Even President Berset, in whose place Jesus sits in Da Vinci’s painting, looks up to his vice president.
And even the fact that water glasses in the form of chalices are on the table can be understood as a reference to the biblical story. The big question that is not answered: Which of the federal councilors is the traitor Judas?