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Sex and Spirituality in 1500s Rome: Sebastiano del Piombo's "Martyrdom of Saint Agatha"

Author(s): Jill Burke

Reviewed work(s):
Source: The Art Bulletin, Vol. 88, No. 3 (Sep., 2006), pp. 482-495
Published by: College Art Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25067263 .
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Sex and Spirituality in 1500s Rome: Sebastiano del
Piombo's Martyrdom of Saint Agatha
Jill Burke

Sebastiano del Piombo's Martyrdom of Saint Agatha (Fig. 1) is sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries increasingly sought
an A woman, naked from a cloth of for the sacred and
unsettling image. apart separate spheres operation profane.
knotted at her stands in the center of the com Thus, it has sometimes been that the use of
loosely hips, implied repeated
position. Swarthy
men at either side of her brandish pincers the naked body in religious imagery in the early sixteenth
that her She looks not at her tormentors but at was a of an
clasp nipples. century effectively by-product evolutionary pro
a bearded man on an elbow that toward the cess of a mixture of that, the
leaning juts religious thought, genres given
At the other side of the a knife rests artistic of Renaissance into Counter-Reforma
picture plane. painting progression
on a stone ledge, its blade pointing toward the beholder. tion, was near inevitable.6

Images of the tortured body

are central to Christian ico Sebastiano del Piombo's Martyrdom of Saint Agatha here
nography?the Crucifixion being the symbolic referent for stands as a case
some of these ideas. This
all these this tends to a much involves the of the
images?but painting produce examining iconographie expectations
reaction in the viewer than other scenes of viewers of the painting, the circumstances of its commission,
stronger saintly
mutilation; is one art historian's of and the social and sexual identities of its first owner. I con
"repellent" description
the matter, and another's.1 It seems sider what visual cues would lead viewers to
subject "porno-violent" contemporary
to be the sexual of this violent attack that make understand an as sexual; the relation between this
implications image
the uneasy for us, and in the and the sexual culture of the Roman curia; and the
painting viewing particular image
mixture of and piety. as is increas a very one in this of
prurience Notably, being problem, pressing period, incorporating
this is one from a of classical source material into a Christian framework.
ingly recognized, painting only group pagan
that to many modern un
early-sixteenth-century images eyes

comfortably give Christian iconography an erotic charge; Agatha the Virgin

other examples might include Rosso Florentino's Dead Christ Saint Agatha was martyred in the town of Catania in Sicily in
(Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), Titian's Mary Magdalene (Pitti the mid-third century. She died because the provost of Sicily,
Madonna man at
of the Rose.2
Palace, and Parmigianino's
Florence), Quintianus?the left in the upon
Are these
meant to be
as erotic, or is such her lecherously and insisted that she give up her Christian
a conclusion a of the visual evi faith and make a sacrifice to pagan Because she refused
post-Freudian misreading gods.
dence? Is seeing them as erotic an individual reaction on both his advances and he put her in a brothel
just paganism,
the part of the scholar, or does it have relevance to how the over the When, after
presided by procuress Aphrodisia. thirty
were viewed in the sixteenth remained decided to
images century? Scholarship days, Agatha uncorrupted, Quintianus
over the last few decades has us that our understand have her breasts cut off. Her breasts were later restored to her
ings of our bodies is subject to historical change. Leo Stein by Saint Peter. Undeterred, Quintianus hauled her over

Caroline Walker and others have that brands, and she died in It is
berg, Bynum, argued burning subsequently prison.
late medieval discourse used the of these brands that is seen in the
religious frequently metaphors perhaps preparation
of bodily penetration and ecstasy that seem
fire in the upper right background of Sebastiano's work. The
sexual to a modern audience, and these fit uncomfortably mountain in the distant at center left
landscape perhaps
with our ideas of an antisexual Christian Simi refers to the that Etna on death; the
spirituality.3 legend erupted Agatha's
parts of the body that to a modern audience are recog
city below it is most likely Catania, where the action took
nized as sexual did not necessarily those con
primarily carry place.7
notations for a onlooker. The of Christ Painted versions of are not common in
premodern genitals Agatha's legend
serve as a reminder of his incarnation and the
Italy in the fifteenth and early sixteenth The epi centuries.
his sacrifice for the sinners beholding his image; the bared sode that Sebastiano depicts is a central part of her legend,
breast of the Virgin Mary was more likely to evoke the idea of invariably represented
in cycles of her life, and gives the saint

nourishment to the medieval viewer than an erotic her most common attributes?her severed breasts
charge.4 displayed
There was, therefore, a tradition of on on a Martha Easton's of illustrations of
imagery concentrating plate.8 study Agatha's

representations of the naked body that laid its emphasis on legend

in medieval
manuscripts suggests that the

pain and renunciation of the flesh. phy of this scene is similar throughout Europe: she is gener
However, some scholars have argued that the early six ally naked to the waist, with her hands bound behind her
teenth saw an "eroticization of vision," with an expo back or over her head, flanked two men, who her
century by grab
nential in that was created to breasts with instruments.9 this well-estab
growth imagery explicitly pincerlike Despite
arouse the viewer a new erotic literature lished convention for Sebastiano had few
sexually, alongside Agatha's story,
that drew on classical sources.5 The fact that direct visual for producing this as an inde
religious paint precedents image
the to arouse viewers became I have not been able to locate
ings also had sexually pendent panel painting. any
a for Catholic reformers, who in the later of this without text
mounting anxiety previous examples subject accompanying

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1 Sebastiano del Piombo, Martyrdom of Saint Agatha, 1520, oil on panel, 51% X 68% in. (131 X 175 cm). Pitti Palace, Florence
(artwork in the public domain; photograph by Nicola Lurusso, provided by Alinari/Bridgeman)

or as an To there trials echo Christ's. In treatments of the she is

part of iconographie cycle. my knowledge, previous subject,
are no extant or domestic shown with her arms outstretched, in an echo of the
altarpieces religious paintings variously
breast mutilation before Sebastiano's ver Crucifixion, or tied to a column as Christ was.14 In Sebastiano's
showing Agatha's
sion, indicating that the subject was very rarely treated inde version, however, it is hard to read how Saint Agatha is tied to
from a broader narrative.10 the column behind her, as it is swathed in a green cloth, seem
In fact, this seems to have been novel in several the continuation of a curtain that reveals the
painting ingly landscape

ways. There were many

images of saintly martyrdoms
made in beyond. Thus, viewers of this painting were not overdy prodded
the sixteenth that could have Sebas into associating with those of Christ's, as was
early century provided Agatha's sufferings
tiano with his model. His choice, therefore, to normal in
compositional iconographie precedents.
orient the composition horizontally, coupled with the trun Most fourteenth-century examples depict
a moment after

cation of the at the knee, is unusual.11 A more con breasts have been first cut, with the saint's endur
figures Agatha's
ventional composition would have been oriented vertically, ance of pain brought
an abundance of blood.

with the saint in the center, as in Sebastiano's According to Easton, in the fifteenth century the composi

Flagellation altarpiece for the Borgherini Chapel, executed tion changed

the beauty of Agatha's body, and

around the same time (Fig. 2).12 It may have been that the in these later works the breasts are often shown whole and

was commissioned for a location within a undistorted.15 Sebastiano's novel of

image particular relatively representation
that this determined
and its form, but its precise the method of martyrdom highlights the beauty of the saint's
original location is not known. At any rate, its format and its torso still further. Most fifteenth-century images show scissor

later provenance make it highly unlikely that it was ever like instruments surrounding the breasts, alongside

intended to be an instruments of torture such as rakes.16 Sebastiano, instead,

A vertical orientation of the painting, likemany earlier images has made his tormentors bear pincers
that touch Agatha's
of Saint Agatha, would have made it visually clear that her bodily nipples, presumably about to clamp them. This is supported

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These works were intended to create a identi

fication between the viewer and the to evoke
religious figure,
and tears.20 a naked woman, rather than a man as
pity Using
that however, the of identifica
figure, changes experience
tion. There is evidence that the of women's
ample sight
breasts was considered in this and
sexually tempting period,
several visual cues would have kindled erotic arousal in a
contemporary viewer.21 This it seems, allows the
viewer to identify equally with the saint or her tormentor,
Quintianus, who lets his lust drive him to ever greater sin.
Moreover, this work an element of dramatic narrative
that is not found in the Venetian half-length tradition.22
It could be that this horizontal-format image with its care
ful depiction of a female nude would also have sparked visual
connotations for the contemporary viewer of another type of
Venetian painting: works by Titian and Giorgione of naked
women, often identified as Venus or other mythological fig
ures.23 Sebastiano from the same Venetian milieu as
Titian and Giorgione, and itmay well be that his conception
of this scene of a female nude, albeit a one, was
directed by these early influences. Indeed, the striking simi
larities between the poses of Saint Agatha and the naked
woman in Titian's Sacred and Profane Love?their waists flexed
to their right, their heads angled to their right, and their left
arms that their torsos be derived
truncated?suggests may
from a similar source.

The later history of Sebastiano's panel implies that this

2 Sebastiano, Flagellation of Christy 1524, mural. S. Pietro in was made in the sixteenth Va
comparison century. Giorgio
Montorio, Rome, Borgherini Chapel (artwork in the public sari relates in the second edition of the Lives that he saw the
domain; photograph ? 1998 Scala, Florence) room are
in the (a where valuables
painting guardaroba
stored) of the duke of Urbino, probably on his visit to Pesaro
in 1566: "a very beautiful Saint Agatha, naked and martyred
by the text of the Golden Legend, where Quintianus that
orders in her breasts, which was a rare . . . and not in any way
breasts be twisted before are cut off, a scene inferior to many other most beautiful that are there
Agatha's they paintings
never previously represented visually to my knowledge.17 It by the hand of Raphael of Urbino, Titian and others."24
rationalizes the prominent depiction of the knife, which, These works included Titian's Venus of Urbino, Mary Mag
ready to complete Agatha's mutilation, juts out into the dalene, and a series of male and female portraits also by Titian
viewer's space?and,
as I argue below, is crucial to this paint (most of which were to end up in the Medici collection) ,25
ing's interpretation. The setting of male portraits of identifiable personages with
Sebastiano's was an un
Martyrdom of Saint Agatha, therefore, generally unidentified, often sensuous, female nudes inti
usual when it was made. It seems reasonable to expect mates that the interest in Sebastiano's Saint and
painting prime Agatha
that this novelty of format, and interaction with Titian's was for aesthetic, or even erotic,
composition, Mary Magdalene
the onlooker was intentional. David Rosand, the vi rather than at least
discussing contemplation spiritual enlightenment,
sual for Titian's Venus out, "Ge the later It is not when
precedents of Urbino, pointed by Cinquecento. known, however,
neric expectation conditions vision and
interpretation."18 How, Sebastiano's Saint Agatha entered the della Rovere collection.
then, would the early-sixteenth-century viewer have
experienced It was not mentioned in the 1538 inventory, and given the
the "genre" of Sebastiano's Saint Agatha? religious, intellectual, and political ferment that marked the
One possibility is a visual connection with a tradition of early years of the sixteenth century,
we cannot assume that its

religious paintings that would have been familiar to Sebas placement in 1566 indicates the way itwas understood when
tiano from his artistic beginnings in Venice: horizontal-for it was painted almost half a
century earlier.
mat domestic images typically showing the half-length Virgin
and Child, the Piet?, or the resurrected Christ, such as Gio Fragments of Venus
vanni Bellini's Piet? of about 1460 (Fig. 3).19 The basic com An investigation of the original commission of the painting
position, of a half-length naked saint at the center flanked offers insight into some of its interpretative possibilities. A
by two clothed figures, is shared by both paintings. That Se letter from Sebastiano to Michelangelo of December 1519
bastiano had this tradition in mind is perhaps indicated by suggests that his Saint Agatha was made for the young Ercole
the presence of the ledge in the foreground of his image, Rangone (ca. 1491-1527), who had been made a cardinal,
which bears his
signature and the date?sebasttanus venetus with the titular church of S. Agata dei Goti, in 1517. This
faciebat ROME MDXX?a common device for this of work, letter is concerned with the valuation of Sebastiano's
type mainly
recalling the entrance to a tomb.
Raising of Lazarus (now in the National Gallery in London)

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3 Giovanni Bellini, Piet?, ca. 1460,

panel, 33% X 42V6 in.
(86 X 107 cm). Pinacoteca di Brera,
Milan (artwork in the public domain;
photograph ? 1992 Mauro Magliani
for Alinari Archives/Bridgeman)

but adds that "alongside this work there's the painting of a role in the complex homosociality of patron-client relation

Cardinal Rangone, which is to be paid for in this account. ships in Renaissance Rome.
Messer Domenico [Buoninsegni] has seen it and knows how There exists a preparatory study for the figure of Saint
big it is."26The accompanying account in fact lists the money in the Mus?e du Louvre, Paris, first noticed in con
received for the painting of the Lazarus, "including Monsi nection with this painting by Philip Pouncey in 1952 (Fig.
gnor Rangone's picture."27 4).31 A highly finished drawing of a female nude in black
Cardinal Giulio de' Medici, the patron of the Raising of chalk with white heightening on blue prepared paper, itwas
Lazarus, was, to pay for Saint as as
evidently, Agatha, presumably in the literature among Sebas
widely praised secondary
a gift to a friend and client. As his well-documented artistic tiano's finest works.32 In recent have
discussions, colleagues
patronage indicates, Giulio was both extremely knowledge the assumption that the drawing was made after a
able about the visual arts and very much involved in
creatively female model, proposing instead that it is an imaginative
the projects he funded.28 The recipient of the gift owed his an torso to a
reconstruction of (similar,
antique perhaps,
elevated position in the church entirely to the Medici family.
standing female nude by Baccio Bandinelli of about 1515,
A younger son of an elite Modenese family, Rangone had now in a collection) or based on a male model, a
been brought to Rome in the train of Cardinal Giovanni de'
practice that Raphael used in a study for his Saint Catherine in
Medici in 1512. Cardinal Giovanni, who had received hospi
the National Gallery in London.33
tality from Ercole's mother after being taken prisoner in the It is unlikely that these issues can be as the
Battle of Ravenna, showed his maintained the
original circumstances of the drawing are probably forever
good relationship?by patronizing the young man. It was a
lost to us. It seems to me most likely that this drawing is an
lucky friendship for the Rangone. The next year Giovanni
of a after a female nude, and that its
was made Pope Leo X, and he duly made Ercole an apostolic early example study
"awkward" relate to the visual effects Sebastiano was
protonotary. In July 1517, after a plot against his life by four qualities

attempting to achieve in both drawing and painting.34 Com

schismatic cardinals, Leo made the
allegedly unprecedented
move of doubling the size of the sacred college, naming pared with Raphael's preparatory drawings for the Sala di
studies after the female nude executed a of
new cardinals, Ercole, then in his Psyche, couple
thirty-one including early
9Q model
twenties. years previously (for example, Fig. 5), Sebastiano's
re seems much less her chest her
Letters between Cardinal Giulio and Ercole Rangone vibrantly posed, broadened,

veal that they had a close relationship. When Giulio was in breasts smaller and further and her stance uncomfort

Florence, Ercole reported events in Rome to him in great able. Tilting to one side and craning her neck, the model had
detail, particularly the activities and physical state of the been requested to jam her left arm behind some sort of ledge
pope, Giulio's uncle.30 He was a trusted of eyes.
covered by drapery. Her right arm is truncated just below the
clearly pair
This painting, therefore, served to bind Ercole Rangone to elbow, presumably also covered by material, though this is
the Medici by reminding Ercole that he owed his position as not clear. Sebastiano showed little interest in the model's
cardinal of S. Agata to his patrons. At the same time, it played lower legs, just sketchily indicating her feet and calves. In

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The truncation of arms above the elbow

esque. Agatha's just
evokes in antique torso
typical breakages fragments.
Thus, Sebastiano used his model, self-con
living quite
to the pose of a the
sciously, replicate sculpture, possibly
Venus. He reasserted this source in the
Ciampolini painting,
arms hid
presenting Agatha truncated at the knee with her
den rather than replicating Christ's Crucifixion or flagella
tion, as had been the norm.37
Leonard Barkan has contended that key Renaissance
of classical resided in the
experience sculpture fragment.38
Numerous illustrations show us an
collections made up of arrays of headless and armless
marble bodies. From the early fifteenth century on, providing
a narrative context for these became a
fragments preoccupa
tion of many scholars and visual artists. The and

appropriation of antique visual types in religious painting was

not unusual by the early sixteenth century, but the possibility
that the original pagan meaning of the sculpture would
accompany the painted or sculpted appropriation created
tensions. Desiderius Erasmus, for warned
example, painters

against representing "God the Father in the guise in which

[Apelles] had once portrayed Jupiter, Christ in the form in

4 Sebastiano, for Saint black chalk and

figure study Agatha,
white heightening on blue prepared paper, 13% X 7V? in.
(35.3 X 18.9 cm). Mus?e du Louvre, Paris, Cabinet des Dessins

(artwork in the public domain; photograph ? R?union des

Mus?es Nationaux/? Mich?le Bellot)

stead, he concentrated on the torso, where of white


heightening give the flesh a marblelike

sheen. Indeed, the
bend of the torso, the small round breasts placed high and
far apart on her chest, the lack of all body hair, and the
truncated arms connect this with a number of fif
teenth- and studies after the torso of a
statue of Venus belonging to Giovanni Ciampolini (now in
the Vatican collection at Castel Gandolfo).35 Michelangelo?
who was with Sebastiano around this
collaborating closely
time?also made studies after this work, or one similar to
it The relation to this a very similar
(Fig. 6).36 sculpture?or 5 Raphael, Kneeling Nude Woman with Left Arm Raised, red
one?is also clear in Sebastiano's where the are
painting, legs chalk on National of Scotland,
paper. Gallery Edinburgh
at the as in the torso and the ? National Gallery
truncated knee, fragment, (artwork in the public domain; photograph
model's chest is broadened, making her literally
more statu of Scotland)

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6 Michelangelo, Study after Venus

Torso, black chalk on paper, 10 X 7 in.
(25.6 X 18 cm). British Museum,
London (artwork in the public do
main; photograph ? the Trustees of
the British Museum)

which he had once portrayed Apollo," because "the symbols been modeled on
the beautiful concubine of Al
would not correspond to the things symbolized."39 Gabriele exander the Great, whom Apelles had previously fallen in
de' Rossi, Roman
patrician and notable collector of antiqui love with while painting her portrait.41 This shaped the dis
ties, that his Minerva, a chaste was a cussions of modern of Venus the
thought goddess, suitably representations among
divine model for artists and "used to inveigh against modern Italian male elite, with (albeit performed and self-conscious)

sculptors who give the Blessed Virgin too much of Venus in lust being
accepted reaction to contemporary
images of
her face."40 the A well-known was recorded Pietro
goddess. example by
De' Rossi objected
to the use of Venus as a model for the Aretino in a letter to Federico Gonzaga in 1527: "I believe
Virgin Mary because of the venerable tradition of sexualized that the most rare Messer Jacopo Sansovino is about to em

responses to the goddess's image. Pliny,

source for bellish your chamber with a [statue of] Venus so true and so
those interested in classical and contemporary visual arts in lifelike that it will fill with lust the thoughts of anyone who
the Renaissance, told of Praxiletes' Cnidian
Venus, sculpted
a looks at it."42 Later, in 1544, Giovanni d?lia Casa joked with
female nude that inspired "an insane love" in a young man; Cardinal Alessandro Farnese that Titian's new of
he also that Apelles' Venus may have Danae made his Venus of Urbino look like a Theatine nun.43
reported Anadyomone

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Lodovico Dolce, in his 1554 letter to Alessandro Contarini, head; indeed, it is an area that Sebastiano reworked as he

referred to in his of considered the best for the tilt of Agatha's neck. It was
similarly explicitly Pliny's story praise angle
Titian's Venus and Adonis: If this erotic desire was aroused an unusual to a head from, difficult to off
by angle paint pull
a marble how much would be the reaction while the decorum and of the so
sculpture, greater preserving beauty figure,
to the "flesh" of a painted image?44 presumably he needed to work this out with a living model.
Recent scholarship has linked Renaissance paintings of the The head in the drawing is indisputably feminine, and its
naked Venus with licit within the features seem to be almost in the
sexuality marriage, stressing exactly repeated physiog
talismanic function of such representations for
procreation nomy of Saint Agatha. Could it be that while he used an
and showing their relation to the tradition of reclining fig antique sculptural model to render the visual allure of
ures on the reverse of cassoni lids.45 No such association with atha's he based her face on that of a
body, contemporary
Venus has meaning
in the case of Sebastiano's Saint Agatha, beauty? A passage in Pietro Aretino's Ragionamenti is sugges
made for an celibate cardinal. In Rome, with its tive. When Aretino's discusses Sebastiano's lust for
ostensibly procuress
of unmarried men, the one of her she
unusually large population goddess's girls, explains:
name often served as shorthand for illicit sexuality. Famously,
at Leo X's possesso, the arch sponsored by Agostino Chigi "Now he is on my back to
portray her
for him it's

"First Venus ruled; then came the of war; not to have had her times; he has
proclaimed, god enough many portrayed
Now Minerva, it is that dawns," to her as an as the Madonna, as the Magdalen, as Saint
great thy day referring angel,
Leo's Alexander VI and II. as Saint Ursula, as Saint and as Saint
predecessors, Julius Reportedly, Apollonia, Lucy
this a in the form of a statue of Venus in Catherine, and I allow him the excuse, because she's
brought response
Antonio di San Marino's
house, inscribed with the words: beautiful, I tell you!"52
"Mars has reigned; Pallas has followed; but the reign of Venus
will never end."46 Another of Venus in the Belve We can take Aretino's comment as historical fact,
sculpture hardly
dere Gardens inspired Gianfrancesco Pico della Mir?ndola in but it is
perhaps related, however loosely,
to common artistic

1512 to write his poem De Venere et Cupidine expellendis, using practice

in Rome in the
sixteenth century. It is evident

the statue as an for all the moral he that Agatha's features to the facial
example corruption correspond closely type
witnessed in Rome.47 that Sebastiano used in other that he executed in
then, would the and, commis Rome around this time.53 This of beauty in his work can
Why, painter presumably, type
sioner of this object have made the reference to a Venus first be seen in a portrait of a woman dated 1512 (Fig. 7). It
fragment so abundantly clear in the painting of a Christian reoccurs later, most
as the figure
of Mary
Is this work one of the of dalene in the who, to my mind, bears a
martyr? images "hypocrisies, stig Raising of Lazarus,
mata, and nails" derided by Aretino in his 1527 letter to close resemblance to Saint
Agatha, painted
about the same

Federico Gonzaga,
narrative an excuse to pro time. These women are distinguished by their dark hair
vide a young cardinal with a "pinup girl"?48 Notably, the idea parted in the center and tied behind them, a low forehead,
of a
generic Venus
"made flesh" in
is one
large, dark, heavy-lidded eyes, framed by immaculately
that is referred to in im a nose with nostrils, and a
constantly early-sixteenth-century shaped eyebrows, straight large
ages, the
typical pose of hands covering,
nearly covering, rather thick neck. They are quite dissimilar from the female
breasts and echoed in works such as faces Sebastiano before he came to Rome.
pudenda constantly painted
Raphael's Fornarina.49 Significantly,
this pose is also echoed How this facial type relates to identifiable individuals is
in two of the mentioned As has been noted several scholars over the
by the female saints religious works problematic. by
above, Titian's and Madonna last two decades, modern notions of the in the sense
Mary Magdalene Parmigianino's portrait,

of the Rose. This classical reference undoubtedly would be of recording individual identity, are difficult to apply tomany
to most educated of the of beautiful women that became so
immediately apparent sixteenth-century paintings popular
viewers, especially
those in the elite Roman circles in which at the beginning of the sixteenth century.54 The facial type of
these works were It is a clear visual to the Sebastiano's Saint was in vogue in Rome at this
produced. sign Agatha clearly
viewer that the female is meant to be as time; it is echoed in Donna Velata and LaFornarina.
figure portrayed Raphael's
beautiful and erotically desirable as the Venus sculpture it That this is a distinctively Roman model of beauty is apparent
mimics. when compared with contemporary Venetian paintings by
Before the contradictions of deliber Palma Vecchio and Titian, who favored women with luxuri
addressing seeming

ately evoking erotic desire in religious painting, I would like ous manes of blonde hair.55
to consider another issue raised by
the Louvre drawing: What That this ideal beauty was based on the features of real
was its purpose? Rather than going to the trouble of getting individuals is possible. A poem of the 1510s by Marcantonio
a model and then jamming her arm behind a conveniently Casanova recounts how
the new Apelles, painted

sized wall, could Sebastiano not have the nude of the renowned courtesan in the
imagined comple portrait Imperia guise
tion of this as Baccio Bandinelli and numerous of Venus, a woman who before her death in 1512 was cele
other Renaissance artists seem to have done?50 The answer brated as the of and decorum?
epitome womanly beauty

may be found in the drawing itself. When studying from life, and, notably, simultaneously often the target of bawdy
Sebastiano often did not draw in the head of his subject, as in satire.56 Similarly, Elizabeth Cropper has discussed how Par
the finished painting this would be completed not with the migianino painted the portrait of another Roman courtesan,
features of the model but with an idealized face.51 The Lou Antea, and also portrayed her as a flanking angel in his Virgin
for Saint
Agatha, however, clearly shows the model's with the Long Neck.57 I have already cited the letter from

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7 Sebastiano, Portrait a Woman,

1512, oil on panel, 263/4 X 21% in.
(68 X 54.8 cm). Galleria degli Uffizi,
Florence (artwork in the public
domain; photograph ? 1990 Scala,
Florence, the Minis tero
provided by
Beni e Att. Culturali)

Giovanni d?lia Casa to Cardinal Alessandro Farnese that While this practice may have been relatively unproblem
discusses Titian placing the face of the cardinal's beloved on atic in paintings of classical subject matter, it seems that it
the body of Danae, and Roberto Zapperi has linked the face could have generated
certain tensions when used in reli

of Danae with that of a portrait of a lady also in the former gious imagery.
For makers of religious works, the drive to

Farnese collection.58 not imitate nature but to create more beau

simply images
The identity of these women is being played with on several tiful and perfect than nature could provide was bound up
levels. In their lives as
cortegiane?a neologism that was coined with evoking a desire for beauty in the viewer that had an
in the Roman court in the 1490s?they took on fancy classi ambivalent relation to Christian morality. The idea that

cizing names that related their activities within Roman elite should a near-erotic desire in
religious imagery provoke
life to the revival of a life alVantica. As Tessa Storey has the viewer fits in with one current of early-sixteenth-cen
the and role of the courtesan from tury religiosity. When a painter used his skills to moral
argued, concept emerged
a Roman humanist culture of classical revival.59 In using them effect, it could induce the kind of heightened spiritual
as models, the artists in Rome were also reaction in the viewer that Girolamo Savonarola saw as
working fashioning
their activities on classical Pliny's stories shadowing God's love. Alexander Nagel first discussed this
precedent, notably,
about Apelles. By merging his model's features with that of a passage from Savonarola's sermon on the Psalm Quam
classical statue of Venus, Sebastiano a classical Bonus of 1496 in relation to the beholder's experience of

technique for portraying ideal beauty as related by Pliny that beauty and desire in painting:
was common in the sixteenth century, in the
early especially
literature produced in the papal court by people like Firen Love is like a
The works of a
good painter

zuola and Nifo on the of women.60 charm men that, in them, remain
Agostino beauty contemplating they

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and sometimes to such an extent that it seems of virgins, both in heterosexual and homosex
suspended, "deflowering"
have been in an ecstasy and have been taken ual encounters.66
they put
outside of themselves, and seem to themselves. This It is however, that the blade of the knife rather
forget significant,
iswhat the love of Jesus Christ does when it is in the soul.61 than the handle is pointing toward the viewer, perhaps

minding him (I use the male

pronoun deliberately here) of
the dangers inherent in following his baser instincts. There is
We can see in Savonarola's comments a direct relation to the
much in this erotically charged painting to remind the viewer
kind of ecstatic spirituality described by Caroline Walker
of the of lust. In the Renaissance, was cele
perils Agatha
one connected with a direct relation between the
Bynum, brated above all as a model of because she resisted
and the In this
worshiper's religious figure's corporality.62
evocation of eroticism
sexual temptation despite her physical beauty. A Florentine
later though, the through
period, sacra of Saint of about 1500 with
rappresentazione Agatha opens
visual means becomes with a discourse about
equally coupled an angel is good, but widow's
skill and recapturing the feats of mimesis
explaining, "Conjugal fidelity
painterly displayed continence is better; best, then, is the state . . . those
the artists of classical
by antiquity. who wish for this should follow. . . the of
heavenly gift style
Moreover, as in the case of Sebastiano's Saint
Agatha?and the blessed Virgin Saint Agatha."67 She willingly submitted to
the that Aretino the face
perhaps paintings discusses?basing torture and to her breasts cut off because her
having tempo
of a saint, however on the features of a person
loosely, living meant when measured the
rary physical pain nothing against
could be as it could the devotional func
dangerous, pervert eternal salvation her: "In my soul I have breasts
promised my
tion of the In a sermon of 1496, Savonarola berated
object. untouched and unharmed" is how the Golden Legend reports
painters for making "the figures in churches in the likeness of as to
her reaction.68 The constancy of her faith the
this or that woman," as could these
frailty of her body is contrasted with the pagan idols?not
youths recognize people
in the streets, "this one's the Magdalen, that other
. . . You
gods, but idols "made of wood and overgilt"?worshiped by
one's Saint make the Virgin appear
John. Mary her to the mocks
captor. Alluding goddess's adultery, Agatha
dressed as a whore."63 in 1524 Erasmus
Similarly, complained wife be like Venus, and
Quintianus, "May your your goddess
about where "the saints are not in
religious images depicted may you be like your god Jupiter!"69 The reference to a
a form which is of them?as when a commis
worthy painter, broken classical idol in Sebastiano's as in other Re
sioned to portray the Virgin or St Agatha,
Mary occasionally naissance could have been intended to remind the
his after a lascivious little whore . . . such
patterns figures viewer of the fall of paganism in the light of the triumph of
. . . us to lasciviousness rather than to
images provoke pi
Christianity.70 For Saint Agatha, a Christian living in perse
ety."64 cution under the Roman Empire, the likening of her earthly
As Savonarola and Erasmus well knew, the more skillful a
to a broken of a has
body sculpture pagan goddess specific
the more his works could be, connotations. The form of her torso the
painter, emotionally affecting recognizes beauty
with consequences. Anecdotes and artistic of while its frag
potentially morally dangerous supremacy antique sculpture,
about erotic responses to from this mentation indicates the essential of material
religious imagery period fragility things,
often the skill. Leonardo's often Renaissance Roman viewers had before
implicitly praise painter's something constantly
cited anecdote about a client who asked him to remove the of
their eyes through the crumbling antique fragments their
attributes from the of a saint so he could kiss her
image city.71
without sin is one another is Vasari's account of Fra
Bartolommeo's Saint Sebastian, which had to be removed The Beautiful Cardinal
from the area of the church of S. Marco because its would the of this Cardinal
public How, then, recipient painting,
and lascivious imitation of life" women to Ercole have been to react to his The
"comely provoked Rangone, expected gift?
thoughts.65 choice seemingly presented by the jutting knife was one faced
by all those who had taken the obligatory vow of chastity on
Thus, the dilemma of up lascivious rather than

pious desire in the viewer through images of beautiful saints the The this was dated,
entering priesthood. year painting
is documented. Far from an accidental of saw the issue of clerical to the fore
being product 1520, celibacy brought
in the erotic Christian front of church reform. Martin Luther, in his Letter to the
changes religious sensibility, seemingly Open
of the late 1510s to 1530s ex Christian Nobility of theGerman Nation, that marriage be
images early self-consciously urged
these issues. sanctioned for the "wretched multitude of priests who now sit
Sebastiano's with its probable of a in shame and heaviness of while the
panel, representation conscience," following
woman in the of a saint, semi Andreas Karlstadt's De that
contemporary guise presented year treatise, coelibatu, argued
naked in the pose of a
of a classical
of clerical celibacy led to the evils of masturbation and sodomy
Venus, is a case in The tensions in these multiple and was retained to protect church
point. only property against
references are made The knife on the is a clerical heirs and to increase revenue
explicit. ledge through indulgences
bravura exhibition of the skill, but also a reminder and fines.72
to the viewer of his share in the of the If to In Rome itself, the sexual of some members of
workings image. profligacy
our a knife seem an obvious with the was notorious. visitors to the as
eyes may phallic symbol, clergy Contemporary city,
sexual of or to mind, well as some later scholars, have been scandalized
metaphors stabbing wounding coming alternately
to a
contemporary viewer the metaphor would be no less and titillated by stories of women dancing naked in the
clear: the verb (to cut) in sixteenth-century Italian was Vatican Palace, clerical and the
tagliare widespread concubinage,
used to indicate fornication, in reference to the of courtesans at elite The of
particularly prominence parties.73 dangers

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this culture for a young cardinal were made clear about 1491 sensual fornication with an unmarried woman, carried a fine

in a letter from Lorenzo de' Medici to his son Giovanni, the of 4 ducats, to 25 ducats if the woman was a
going up
later Leo him the of or 50 ducats if she was married. Sex with a
pope X, advising against temptations parishioner virgin
Rome: led to a fine of 25 ducats and a dowry, so she might be suitably
married; further crimes were to their
punished according

you will probably meet with those who will particularly perceived seriousness, up to the harshest punishment

to vice. .
. . Yet are a married and of
endeavor to corrupt and incite you you rape of woman?perpetual prison privation
not with the of the char all benefices.82
unacquainted great importance
acter which have to sustain, for you well know that all Cardinal Giulio's attitude to the sexual mores of
you practical
the Christian world would prosper if the cardinals were the clerics under his jurisdiction was, perhaps,
also evidenced

what to be.74 in his to Cardinal As more research is under

they ought gift Rangone.
taken on sexual in Renaissance and modern
practices early
Leo made what he a cardinal to be" Rome, it has become clear that, con
explicit thought "ought although officially
in the Fifth Lateran Council: "it is proper that [cardinals] demned, it was relatively
common for ostensibly celibate

should be to all examples of purity of life and of the splendor clerics to be sexually active. Moreover, as several recent stud

of virtue ... we ordain and decree that live . . . ies have shown, elite humanistic culture in Rome, and
they soberly, par
and piously, abstaining not only from evil but also ticularly the rhetoric of friendship in the city, was steeped in
from of evil."75 a that to a modern observer seems
every appearance language erotically
A poem by Filippo Beroaldo the Younger addressed to charged.
It could be found in
of devotion, often

on the occasion of his elevation to the cardinalate between two male friends or in the shared
Rangone physical, appreci
his new honors, but at the same time reminded him ation of the erotic allures of a female of desire.83 The
praised object
of the poor moral context of the Rome in which he lived and latter attitude surfaces in the letters cited above about Ti

of some of the less members of the who were tian's and Sansovino's female nudes, and we should
worthy college Jacopo
elected with him: men, of heart, address the possibility that Sebastiano's Saint a
"half-ineloquent meager Agatha, gift
coarse of character."76 Beroaldo then on to that from one man to another, is a fragment
of this type
goes suggest physical
a should be "of intellect, sober of sixteenth-century homosociality.
good prince passionate
and mind," who could from A consideration of Ercole Rangone's public identity can
tongue vigorous "separate right
evil from and have friends untouched influ us these issues. a cardinal
vice, good, by help explore Becoming brought
ence and he can
that trust in doubtful matters."77 Ex him a new social and name
truly visibility, Rangone's appeared
aimed at the pope, this was also advice for
quite frequently in the pillories of cardinals pinned to the
plicitly surely
in his new statue of the traditional for social com
Rangone position. Pasquino, repository
At one level, therefore, we could see Sebastiano's in the form of verse. He was often mentioned
painting, mentary along
gift from an
experienced and high-ranking
cardinal to a side other cardinals created in 1517 who, like him, had been
more member of the sacred as to and who, like him, were
junior college, equivalent apostolic protonotaries relatively
Beroaldo's and to Lorenzo de' Medici's advice to his their twenties) at their election.84 were
poem young (in early They
son: Ercole is to view this and mocked for behavior?such as about Rome
urged painting morally reject unfitting going
the illicit passion he may feel for Agatha's naked body. This dressed up ("mascherati")?and youth.85
for their The most

is the Aikema in his was

conclusion reached by Bernard analysis significant charge against Rangone, though, sodomy.
of Titian's and it cannot be dis these references were In one verse,
Mary Magdalene, easily Occasionally, explicit.
missed.78 that very message was Giulio's decrees that if he were elected judge
in heaven, "I
Certainly, apparently Pasquino
motivation when, as pope, he a of Hippocrates would have it that as many cocks as has had in his
gave painting Rangone
to his rather wayward nephew Cardinal Ippolito Medici so anus were held in front of him, and everyone could ask for his

that the latter might "be led to the true way of the life that at own mouthful!"; in another he claims he would "concede

the moment he does not esteem."79 to ass, who, a friend of service,

grace Cavaglione's always
Before we close the of this Mantua and Rangone take in Other
possibilities interpreting paint frequently sodomy."86

ing in such a light, it is worth considering in more detail poems simply refer to effeminate
practices hinting
at homo

the and attitudes to Clerical sexual moresche in the

gift giver's recipient's sexuality. activity: "Cavaglione dancing palace
was the with or and his around
concubinage widespread?even norm?throughout Rangone," Rangone brigata "going
and tolerated.80 Nevertheless, Leo X con as that wore wom
Europe, widely disguised nymphs" (indicating they overly
demned this practice
in no uncertain terms in the Fifth anish clothing).87
Lateran Council, ordering
clerics to live "in continence and The idea of Rangone as a feminized man is taken up in two
chastity," with offenders being severely punished, and reaf poems written in the late 1510s and early 1520s, where he is
firmed the church's ruling on celibacy for those in higher depicted as being the beautiful yet unattainable object of
orders.81 There was a
significant gap between official rhetoric female desire. Callyrhoe divi Herculi Cardinali Rangoni was
and how these rules were
however. The purchaser
of written by the poet Guidi Posthumi Silvestris as if spoken by
Sebastiano's painting, Cardinal Giulio de' Medici, reacted a
mistress of the young Ercole.88 Though
she was of

pragmatically to the precepts of the Fifth Lateran Council in lower status, Callyrhoe complains,
he loved her when they
his role as of Florence. The Florentine of were but now that he has received his "recent office"
archbishop synod youths,
1517 fined sexual transgressions in an ascending level of and is a "great
prince," he has spurned her. Concentrating in

seriousness. For the least crime, con the stanze of the on the of the distance
example, problematic early poem problems

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in status between them, then goes on to argue that rors" of the new of and the of some
Callyrhoe style painting immorality
his as a churchman should not be a barrier to their The evidence of Sebastiano del Piombo's
position painters.9 Martyr
and of dom concerns
love: "Heaven's law forbids brawls base crimes slaugh of Saint Agatha gives the
that these

ter, Not that you should not love the heart of your faithful were, indeed, merited. The visual conventions employed by
lover. Yet you it to be a sin, my own love of the that the viewer was a clear cue that
pretend you."89 painter suggest given
Another poem, written by Filippo Beroaldo, discusses how an erotic response was
expected. Apparently, Sebastiano's
Ercole enflamed women with his Here, a was not Bernard Aikema forward a similar
beauty. though panel unique. put
woman called Glicere a reference to the cour for Titian's he claims
(presumably argument Mary Magdalene?although
tesan of the same name in Lucian's the Courtesans) that its erotic was meant to be
Dialogue of charge wholeheartedly reject
"burns" with desire for Ercole, he looks on her with pitiless ed?and Regina Stefaniak also noted the "saturated eroti
Beroaldo warns Ercole that he could on cism" of Rosso Florentino's Dead Christ.98 It seems that when
eyes. bring revenge
himself, and that his pink cheeks and the amber hair flying sixteenth-century churchmen railed
sex in
about his neck will not inflame women's lust.90 were not a dis
ivory always painting, they necessarily exercising prudish
This description of young male beauty is a poetic analog to like of
as the
unknowing channels for an

the of beautiful many that "eroticization of vision," but were

portraits youths, androgynous, amorphous consciously

gained popularity in the early part of the sixteenth century, rejecting

a new genre of
one that
deliberately, and
such as Raphael's portrait of Bindo Altoviti in the National intentionally, exploited equivocal?and
sometimes contra

of Art, D.C.91 notions about flesh, and

Gallery Washington, dictory?social sexuality, spirituality.
If recent research has shown that homosexual If, in the end, we cannot close the debate over the meaning
between men in Rome could be of these we should see this not as a failure of art
young sixteenth-century images,
tolerated as a of passage" before an historical but as a feature of the themselves.
largely "right marriage, analysis images
outlet for the of sodomitic relation The idea that ambiguity was a calculated feature of much
unruly sexuality youth,

ships beyond the age of thirty?especially if the older man early-sixteenth-century cultural production has recently
a role?often received much harsher scholars.99 It is not
played passive judicial gained ground among perhaps surprising

punishment and social ostracization.92 Some authorities saw that Sebastiano's Saint Agatha is also imbued with a deep and
fit to counter the threat of sodomy by promoting brothels knowing
ambivalence toward sexuality,
as it is
in this

and other forms of as a lesser evil.93 In an elite realm in Rome that one sees a variance between official
prostitution huge
Roman context, a letter of 1501 from Agostino Vespucci to rhetoric and widely accepted practice.
Niccol? Machiavelli discusses how a mutual
Raffaello Pulci, is always to be seen with because,
as a
poet, he is at risk of homosexual molestation from the fill Burke is a lecturer in Renaissance art history at Edinburgh
men of the Roman on the relation between social and
Academy.94 University. Presently working
Sebastiano del Piombo's of a artistic in she is the author
portrayal contemporary change sixteenth-century Italy, ?^Chang

beauty in the guise

of a Venus
sculpture that, in its
original ing Patrons: Social Identity and the Visual Arts in Renaissance
form, made men crazy with desire could therefore be read as Florence [History ofArt, School ofArts, Culture and Environment,
akin to the poetic pleas of Callyrhoe and Glicere: an
attempt University ofEdinburgh, 20 Chambers Street, Edinburgh EH1 lfZ,
to the erotic attention of a man famed for the U.K., fill.Burke@ed.ac.uk].
gain spurning
of women, and an to to
beauty perhaps appeal Rangone give
in to a "lesser evil" of erotic desire for a female, rather than

As we could refine the idea of this

male, partner. such, image
as into lust for a fe I would like to thank all those people who have discussed this painting with
straightforwardly moralistic?by giving me. In particular, I hope the anonymous readers for The Art Bulletin will
male could be saved from worse sin. comments
body, Rangone recognize how much their insightful and knowledgeable have
However, the image seems to call for multivalent informed my revision of this essay. Discussions at seminars at the Universities
of Edinburgh and York and at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London
at the one is struck the of
Looking panel again, by masculinity were essential in developing the ideas expressed here. Thanks to
the female with her broad shoulders, small breasts, Beverley Brown, Michael Bury, Sheryl Reiss, David Rosenthal, Tessa Storey,
and Luke Syson. Research for this article, part of the project "Court Culture
and the rather phallic knot of her winding sheet positioned
in Early Modern Rome, 1450-1750," was funded by the Arts and Humanities
over her genitals. The beautiful young Ercole, positioned in Research Council.
the poems as the object of unwanted attention by libidinous
1. Michael Hirst, Sebastiano del Piombo (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981),
women, could equally be asked to identify with the figure of 77-78, calls the subject matter "repellent" and wonders what the young
Like his namesake, Hercules, between the recipient of the painting "would have made of this image of beauty
Agatha.95 choosing
assailed"; Liana De Girolami Cheney uses the term "porno-violent" in
of vice and virtue, the seems to offer a series of
paths painting "The Cult of Saint Agatha," Woman's Art Journal 17', no. 1 (1996): 3-9.
dichotomies, of alternative as if on a knife In my (admittedly anecdotal) experience of discussing this work, it of
paths, presented
ten evokes strong expressions of distaste in its viewers.
male and female desire; and flesh
edge: sculptural fragment
2. Alessandro Nova has recently discussed a group of these images, "Ero
and-blood model; nature and artifice; and
chastity promiscu tismo e spiritualit? nella pittura romana del Cinquecento," in Francesco
and wholeness and Salviati e la bella maniera: Actes des colloques de Rome (Paris: ?cole Fran
ity; Christianity paganism; fragmentation.
In 1563, the Council of Trent ruled that in religious im ?aise de Rome, 2001), 149-69. He links the experience of viewing
these works with the printing of Giulio Romano's erotic drawings, /
ages, "figures shall not be painted or adorned with a beauty modi (1524), which, as they appeared later than Sebastiano's panel,
to lust."96 In it was the voices of many cannot be directly relevant here. For individual analyses of these paint
exciting this, echoing
to ings, see Bernard Aikema, "Titian's Mary Magdalen in the Palazzo Pitti:
reformers?from Savonarola and Erasmus Politi
Ambrogio An Ambiguous Painting and Its Critics," Journal of theWarburg and Cour
and Molanus?who were concerned about the "er tauld Institutes 57 (1994): 48-59; and Regina Stefaniak, "Replicating

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Mysteries of the Passion: Rosso's Dead Christ with Angels," Renaissance 15. See Easton, "Saint Agatha," 87-100.
Quarterly 45, no. 4 (1992): 677-738. 16. Ibid.
3. Leo Steinberg, The Sexuality of Christ inRenaissance Art and Modern Obliv 17. Vor?gine, The Golden Legend, vol. 1, 155.
ion (London: Faber, 1984); Caroline Walker Bynum, Jesus as Mother:
18. David Rosand, "So-and-So Reclining on Her Couch," in Titian 500, ed.
Studies in the Spirituality of theHigh Middle Ages (Berkeley: University of
Joseph Manca (Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1993), 113.
California Press, 1982); idem, "The Body of Christ in the Later Middle
Ages: A Reply to Leo Steinberg," Renaissance Quarterly 39, no. 3 (1986): 19. Some interpretations of this much-discussed painting include Norman
399-439; and Mary F. Wack, Lovesickness in theMiddle Ages: The "Viati Land, "The Voice of Art in Giovanni Bellini's Pieta in Milan," Source 14,
cum" and Its Commentaries (Philadelphia: of Pennsylvania no. 4 (1995): 14-17; and Hans Belting, Giovanni Bellini, Piet?: Ikone und
Press, 1990), 18-27, 152-62. Bilderz?hlung in der venezianischen Malerei (Frankfurt: Fischer Taschen
4. For a discussion of these issues, see Margaret Miles, "The Virgin's One buch, 1985).
Bare Breast: Female Nudity and Religious Meaning in Tuscan Early 20. This goal was made explicit in Bellini's painting through the inscrip
Renaissance Culture," in The Female Body in Western Culture, ed. Susan tion: HAEC FEREQUUM GEMITUSTURGENTIALUMINAPROMANT:BELLINIPO
R. Suleiman Press, 1986), 193-208; TERAT FLERE iOANNis opus (When these swelling eyes evoke groans, this
(Cambridge: Cambridge University
and Megan Holmes, the Virgin: The Madonna Lactans in work of Giovanni Bellini could shed tears).
Fifteenth Century Florentine Art," in Picturing Women in Renaissance and 21. It is a testament to the force of Miles's, Bynum's, and others' argu
Baroque Italy, ed. G?raldine A. Johnson and Sara F. Matthews Grieco ments that we now have to argue for the breasts as an erotic zone in
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 167-95. For Christ's the premodern see Holmes, the Virgin," 167-72.
period; "Disrobing
genitals and the incarnation, see Steinberg, The Sexuality of Christ, There are several examples from fifteenth- and early-sixteenth-century
1-108; Richard C. Trexler, "Gendering Jesus Crucified," in Iconography erotic literature that discuss breasts as being erotic for men and
at the Crossroads, ed. Brendan Cassidy (Princeton: Princeton University women. See the "painted breasts" of the prostitute Claudia cited in An
Press, 1993), 107-20; and Stefaniak, "Replicating Mysteries," 679-702. tonio Becadelli, Hermaphroditus, in Piero Lorenzoni, Erotismo e
5. This thesis was perhaps first put forward by Carlo Ginzburg in his "Tizi pornograf?a nella letteratura italiana (Milan: II Formichiere, 1976), 163;
ano, Ovidio e i codici della figurazione erotica del Cinquecento," Para the description of lesbian sex in Pietro Aretino, II piacevol ragionamento
de Varetino: Dialogo di Giulia e diMadalena, ed. Claudio G?lderisi
gone 339 (1978): 3-24, translated as "Titian, Ovid, and Sixteenth-Cen (Rome:
Salerno, 1987), 65; and several descriptions in the Hypnerotomachia Po
tury Codes for Erotic Illustration," in Titian's "Venus of Urbino," ed.
Rona Goffen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 23-36. liphili: Francesco Colonna, Hypnerotomachia Poliphili: The Strife of Love in
See also Paula Findlen, in Re a Dream, trans. Joscelyn Godwin (London: Thames and Hudson, 2003),
"Humanism, Politics and Pornography
48-49, 70-72, 157.
naissance Italy," in The Invention of Pornography: Obscenity and the Origins
ofModernity, 1500-1800, ed. Lynn Hunt (New York: Zone Books, 22. For a discussion of the introduction of narrative action into previously
1993), 49-108; and Bette Talvacchia, Taking Positions: On theErotic in iconic religious paintings in the early sixteenth century and its possible
Renaissance Culture (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999), 101? effects on the way viewers understood these images, see Alexander Na
24; and for the theme of desire for beauty as central to developments gel, Michelangelo and theReform of Art (Cambridge: Cambridge Univer
in early-sixteenth-century see Elizabeth Cropper, "The
representation, sity Press, 2000), esp. 25-48.
Place of Beauty in the High Renaissance and Its Displacement in the
23. The identification of these female figures has been questioned. See
History of Art," in Place and Displacement in theRenaissance, ed. Alvin
Rosand, "So-and-So Reclining."
Vos (Binghamton, N.Y.: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies,
159-205. 24. Giorgio Vasari, Le vite de'pi? eccellenti pittori, scultori e architettori nelle
redazioni del 1550 e 1568, ed. R. Bettarini and P. Barocchi (Florence:
6. Nova, Francesco Salviati, 165-67, who has so far looked at these images
Sansoni, 1976), vol. 5, 99.
in the most detail, argues that religious genres became secularized
about 1500, and it is to this phase of redefinition and hybridization of 25. For a discussion of the relation between the male portraits and the fe
male nudes in the guardaroba at Pesaro, see Am?lie Himmel, Die Venus
genres that the panels of Rosso and Parmigianino belong. This general
idea perhaps came from Hans Belting's of the transfor von Urbino und Guidobaldo delta Rovere: Ein Beitrag zum Herrscherverst?nd
mation of the cult image into "art" at the beginning of the early mod nis in Italien im 15./16. Jahrhundert (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2000). For
ern period; see Belting, Likeness and Presence: A History of the Image before Vasari's 1566 visit to Pesaro, see Patricia Lee Rubin, Giorgio Vasari: Art
theEra of Art, trans. Edmund Jephcott of Chicago and History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995), 370; and Hirst,
(Chicago: University
Sebastiano del Piombo, 78 n. 16.
Press, 1994), 14-17, 458-90.
7. Jacobus da Vor?gine, The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints, trans. 26. Paola Barocchi Ristori, eds., II carteggio di Michelangelo,
and Renzo vol. 2
William (Florence: Sansoni, 1967), 207: "Et in quest'opera glie el quadro del
Granger Ryan, 2 vols. (Princeton: Princeton University Press,
Cardinale Rangone che va a questo conto che la visto M. Domenico et
1993), vol. 1, 154-57; for a full documentary history of Saint Agatha, sa di che grandeza
see Santo D'Arrigo, // martirio di sant ?gata nel quadro storico del suo glie."
tempo, 2 vols. (Catania: Istituto Catechistico Annunziazione di Maria, 27. Lucilla Bardeschi Ciulich and Paola Barocchi, eds., / ricordi di Michelan
1988). gelo (Florence: Sansoni, 1970), 94: "co(m)putando el quadro del mon
s(ignore) del Rangone." My thanks to Sheryl Reiss for this reference,
8. The examples in George Kaftal's volumes on the iconography of the
which is discussed in her PhD diss., "Cardinal Giulio de' Medici as a
saints in Italian painting are to fresco cycles. See Ico
largely restricted Patron of Art: 1513-1523" (Princeton University, 1992).
nography of the Saints in Tuscan Painting (Florence: Sansoni, 1952), cols.
4-8; Iconography of the Saints in thePainting ofNorth East Italy (Florence: 28. A picture of Giulio's patronage is increasingly emerging, largely thanks
Sansoni, 1978), cols. 4-12; Iconography of the Saints in thePainting of to the research of Sheryl Reiss, "Cardinal Giulio de' Medici," and also
North West Italy (Florence: Sansoni, 1985), cols. 9-18; and Iconography of "To Be a Medici: Proclaiming Status, Identity, and Legitimacy in the
the Saints in Central and South Italian Schools of Painting (Florence: San Art Patronage of Giulio de' Medici (Pope Clement VII)," in Conspicu
soni, 1965), cols. 5-14. ous Commissions in Renaissance Italy and Beyond: The Economics of Informa
tion as Applied toArt, ed. Jonathan K. Nelson and Richard Zeckhauser
9. Martha Easton, "Saint Agatha and the Sanctification of Sexual Vio
(Princeton: Princeton University Press, forthcoming) ; and Kenneth
lence," Studies in Iconography 16 (1994): 83-118.
Gouwens and Sheryl Reiss, eds., The Pontificate of Clement VII: History,
10. This became more common in the late sixteenth and seventeenth cen Politics, Culture (London: Ashgate, 2005).
tury, however; see James Clifton, 'Being Lustful, He Would Delight in
29. For information on Ercole Rangone, see L. Rangoni Machiavelli, Notizie
Her Beauty': Looking at Saint Agatha in Seventeenth-Century Italy," in sulla Famiglia Rangoni di Modena (Rome: Cav. A. Befani, 1909), 14-15;
From Rome toEternity: Catholicism and theArts in Italy, ca. 1550-1650, ed.
Pamela M.Jones and Thomas Worcester Ludwig von Pastor, The History of thePopes from the Close of theMiddle
(Leiden: Brill, 2002), 143-78.
Ages, trans. Ralph Francis Kerr (London: Kegan Paul, 1908), vol. 8,
11. As noted by Hirst, Sebastiano del Piombo, 77-78. 101, 105-6; Pietro Bembo, Lettere, ed. Ernesto Travi, 4 vols. (Bologna:
12. Although the inception of this project was 1516, the chapel was not Commissione per i Testi di Lingua, 1992), vol. 2, 344-45; and Marino
finished and unveiled for viewing until 1524; see ibid., 50-54. Sanuto, / diari di Marino Sanuto, ed. N. Barozzi, 58 vols. (Venice: Forni
Editore, 1882), vol. 44, 505, vol. 46, 144.
13. Hirst, ibid., 77, quite rightly dismisses this suggestion by Luitpold Duss
ler, Sebastiano del Piombo (Basel: Holbein-Verlag, 1942), 53.
30. Archivio di Stato di Firenze, Mediceo avanti il Principato, 142, no. 45
(June 29, 1519), 103, no. 141 (August 28, 1520), 103, no. 142 (August
14. See, for example, the fourteenth-century cycle in S. Agata in Cremona 29, 30, 1520).
illustrated in Kaftal, Iconography of the Saints inNorth East Italy, fig. 8; or
31. Philip Pouncey, "A Study by Sebastiano del Piombo for the Martyrdom
the woodcut illustration of this scene in a printed edition of a Floren
tine sacra rappresentazione of the saint's life: La rapresentatione di sancta of St Agatha," Burlington Magazine 94, no. 589 (1952): 116.

Agata vergine ?f martyre (Florence: Piero Pacini, ca. 1500; facsimile ed., 32. Pouncey, ibid., 116 n. 28, claims that "this sensitively modelled and
Florence: Leo S. Olschki, 1969), n.p. monumental" study should lead to a positive r??valuation of Sebas

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tiano's work; Sidney Freedberg described it as "Sebastiano at his finest 46. Both are cited by Pastor, The History of the Popes, vol. 7, 40.
... at once sensuous and statuary," in "'Drawings for Sebastiano' or
47. Ernst Gombrich, "Hypnerotomachiana," in Symbolic Images (London:
'Drawings by Sebastiano': The Problem Reconsidered," Art Bulletin 45
Phaidon, 1972), 102-9.
(1963): 254; Kenneth Clark called it "splendid," in The Nude: A Study in
Ideal Form (New York: MJF Books, 48. Are tino, Lettere sull'arte, 17: "che vi faccio un quadro de la invenzione
1956), 123.
che gli piace, purch? non ci sien su ipocrisie n? stigmati n? chiodi."
33. This drawing is in the Ashmolean Museum. See Carol Plazzotta's cata
Charles Hope, Titian (London: Jupiter Books, 1980), 62, notoriously
log entry on it in Raphael: From Urbino toRome, by Hugo Chapman, described the semiclad female portraits of Titian as "elaborate pin-ups."
Tom Henry, and Plazzotta (London: National Gallery Company, 2004),
228. My thanks to Beverley Brown and Luke Syson for these sugges 49. As noted in David A. Brown and Konrad Oberhuber, "Monna Vanna
and Fornarina: Leonardo and Raphael in Rome," in Essays Presented to
tions, as well as many other thoughtful comments that greatly helped
me in my consideration of Sebastiano's image. Her left arm, perhaps, Myron P. Gilmore, ed. Sergio Bertelli and Gloria Ramakus (Florence: La
has more developed musculature than one might expect in a female Nuova Italia, 1977), vol. 2, 48.
sitter, though no more so than in Raphael's drawing in the National 50. Bandinelli's "finishing" of a Venus fragment is discussed and illustrated
Gallery of Scotland (Fig. 5), which is certainly after a woman. This fea in Barkan, Unearthing thePast, 309-11.
ture is probably not an indication of masculinity.
51. See, for example, the figure studies for his Death of Adonis, now in the
34. For early life drawing after a female subject, see Joanne G. Bernstein, Ambrosiana in Milan.
"The Female Model and the Renaissance Nude: D?rer, Giorgione, and
52. Pietro Aretino, Ragionamento e dialogo, ed. Paolo Procaccioli (Milan:
Raphael," Artibus etHistoriae 26 (1992): 49-63. "Ora mi ? la spalle per ritrarla di nuovo, non
Garzanti, 1984), 441-42:
35. For a discussion of this sculpture and drawings after it, see Annegrit averia avuta pi? volte; egli l'ha ritratta per T?ngelo, per la
gli bastando
Schmitt, "R?mische Antikensammlungen im Spiegel eines Musterbuchs Madonna, per laMaddalena, per santa Apollonia, per santa Orsola, per
der Renaissance," M?nchener Jahrbuch 21 (1970): 114; Gunter santa Lucia e per santa Caterina; e gli ametto la scusa, perch? ? bella,
Schweikhart, "Der Torso im fr?hen 16. Jahrhundert: Verst?ndnis, Stu ti dico."
dium, Aufstellung," in // Cortile delle Statue: Der Statuenhof des Belvedere im
53. See, for example, the Virgin and Child with John the Baptist, Joseph and a
Vatikan; Akten des internationalen Kongresses zu Ehren von Richard Krauthei
Donor in the National Gallery in London and the Portrait of a Woman in
mer, ed. Matthias Winner, Bernardo Andreae, and Carol Pietrangeli
the Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence. Raphael's repeated use of the same
(Mainz: Philipp von Zabern, 1998), 318; Arnold Nesselrath, catalog en model and his possible romantic relationship with her are discussed in
try in Raffaello in Vaticano (Milan: Electa, 1984), 101-3; Laurie Fusco Brown and Oberhuber, "Monna Vanna and Fornarina," 54-56.
and Gino Corti, "Giovanni Ciampolini (d. 1505), a Renaissance Dealer
in Rome and His Collection of Antiquities," Xenia 21 (1991): 35; and 54. Hirst, Sebastiano del Piombo, 93-94, discusses this in relation to Sebas
Renaissance Artists and Antique tiano's portraits, but it is now a recurrent theme in the literature on
Phyllis Pray Bober and Ruth Rubinstein,
see Brian D. Steele, "In the Flower of
Sculpture: A Handbook of Sources (Oxford: Oxford University Press, portraits. For recent discussions,
1986), 61. Their Youth: 'Portraits' of Venetian Beauties ca. 1500," Sixteenth Century

36. Michael Hirst, Michelangelo and His Drawings (New Haven: Yale Univer Journal 28, no. 2 (1997): 481-502; Evelyn Welch, "Naming Names: The
Transience of Individual Identity in Fifteenth-Century Italian Portrai
sity Press, 1988), 61. These drawings, according to Hirst made in con
ture," and Marta Ajmar and Dora Thornton, "When Is a Portrait Not a
nection with the female figures in the Medici Chapel, have not previ
Portrait? Belle Donne on Maiolica and the Renaissance Praise of Local
ously been connected with the Ciampolini Venus, but they are certainly
after a very similar torso, if not this one. Beauties," both in The Image of the Individual: Portraits in theRenaissance,
ed. Nicholas Mann and Luke Syson (London: British Museum Press,
37. The practice of studying figures from life in the pose of an ancient re
1998), 91-104 and 138-53; and Patricia Simons, "Portraiture, Portrayal,
lief and then revivifying this pose in painting was also used by the Ra and Idealization: Ambiguous Individualism in Representations of Re
phael school, as one of the Art Bulletin readers pointed More work naissance Women," in Language and Images of Renaissance Italy, ed. Ali
on the mutual influence between Sebastiano and Raphael (as opposed son Brown (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), 271-85.
to their often discussed rivalry) would be fruitful.
55. Many of these Venetian works are discussed by Steele, "In the Flower
38. Leonard Barkan, Unearthing thePast: Archaeology and Aesthetics in the of Their Youth."
Making ofRenaissance Culture (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999),
118-207. See also, for torsos, Schweikhart, "Der Torso im fr?hen 16. 56. Marcantonio Casanova, Heroica (Florence, 1867), 18. For the malleabil
ity of the identity of courtesans, see M. Rogers, "Fashioning Identities
Jahrhundert," 315-25.
for the Renaissance Courtesan," in Fashioning Identities in Renaissance Art
39. Desiderius Erasmus, quoted in Erwin Panofsky, "Erasmus and the Vi
(Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000), 91-106; and for Imperia, see G. L. Moncal
sual Arts," Journal of theWarburg and Courtauld Institutes 32 (1969): 213
lero, Imperia de Paris nella Roma del Cinquecento e i suoi cantori fautori
(Rome: Fratelli Palombi, 1962). See also, for Raphael and models he
40. See Kathleen Wren Christian, "The De' Rossi Collection of Ancient used recurrently, Brown and Oberhuber, "Monna Vanna and Forna
Sculptures, Leo X, and Raphael," Journal of theWarburg and Courtauld rina," 54-60.
Institutes 65 (2002): 146-47.
57. Elizabeth Cropper, "On Beautiful Women, Parmigianino, Petrarchismo,
41. Pliny the Elder, The Elder Pliny's Chapters on theHistory of Art, trans. K Jex and the Vernacular Style," Art Bulletin 58 (1976): 383.
Blake (Chicago: Argonaut, 1968), 57, 193-95 for the Venus of Cnidos and 58. Now in the Museo e Gallerie Nazionale di Capodimonte, See
to paint Alexander the Great's concubine, Naples.
125 for Apelles' commission
Zapperi, "Alessandro Farnese," 160-61, 166-71.
as a source for an
Pankaspe. For a discussion of the importance of Pliny
artistic practice, see Barkan, Unearthing 59. Much of Tessa Storey's important work on Roman prostitutes and cour
tique sculpture and contemporary
thePast, 65-118. Cropper, "The Place of Beauty," 178-84, discusses the tesans is yet to be published. I am grateful to her for giving me two
courtesan and its relation to painting, eroti chapters from her as yet unpublished book on this subject. For now,
passage about Alexander's
see her PhD diss., "Questo negozio ? aromatichissimo: A Sociocultural
cism, and desire in early-sixteenth-century painting.
Study of Prostitution in Early Modern Rome" (European University
42. Pietro Aretino, Lettere sull'arte di Pietro Aretino, ed. Ettore Camesasca
Institute, Florence, 1999).
(Milan: Edizioni del Milione, 1957), vol. 1, 17; discussed in James
in Art and Society (New 60. Cropper, "On Beautiful Women," 383-85, discusses these texts.
Saslow, Ganymede in theRenaissance: Homosexuality
Haven: Yale University Press, 1986), 71; and Findlen, "Humanism, Poli 61. Girolamo in Alexander "Gifts for Michelan
Savonarola, quoted Nagel,
tics and Pornography," 63.
gelo and Vittoria Colonna," Art Bulletin 79 (1997): 653, from Savona
43. This much-cited letter was first published in Lorenzo Campana, "Mon rola, sermon 16, Sermoni e prediche di F. Girolamo Savonarola (Prato,
della Casa e i suoi tempi," Studi Storici 17 (1908): 382. 434-35.
signor Giovanni 1846),
It is discussed by Roberto Zapperi, "Alessandro Farnese, Giovanni della 62. Bynum, "The Body of Christ," esp. 406-7; see also idem, "Women Mys
Casa and Titian's Danae in Naples," Journal of theWarburg and Courtauld tics and Eucharistie Devotion in the Thirteenth Women's Stud
Institutes 54 (1991): 159-71. ies 11 (1984): 179-214.
44. See Cropper, "The Place of Beauty," 174-90; and Fredrika H.Jacobs, 63. Girolamo Savonarola, Prediche italiane ai Fiorentini, ed. R. Palmarocchi
"Aretino and Michelangelo, Dolce and Titian: Femmina, Masculo, Gra
(Florence: La Nuova Italia, 1933), vol. 3, no. 1, 391. The full passage is:
zia" Art Bulletin 82 (2000): 52-53.
"L'imagine de' vostri dei sono le imagini e similitudini d?lie figure che
45. Patricia Rubin discusses the various roles of the Renaissance Venus in voi fate dipingere nelle chiese, e li giovani poi vanno dicendo a questa
"The Seductions of Antiquity," inManifestations of Venus: Art and Sexuality,
e quella:?costei ? laMaddalena, quell'al tro ? santo Giovanni,?perch?
ed. Caroline Arscott and Katie Scott (Manchester: Manchester voi fate dipingere le figure nelle chiese alla similitudine di quella
Press, 2000), 24-38. Jaynie Anderson first stressed the reclining goddess's donna o di quell'altra, il che ? molto male fatto e in grande dispregio
connection with marriage in "Giorgione, Titian and the Sleeping Venus," d?lie cose di Dio. . . .Voi fate par?re la Vergine Maria vestita corne
in Tiziano e Venezia (Vicenza: Neri Pozzi, 1980), 337-42. meretrice."

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64. Desiderius Erasmus, from his De modus orandi deum, quoted and dis (b. ca. 1485), all of whom were apostolic protonotaries made cardinal in
cussed in Panofsky, "Erasmus and the Visual Arts," 208. 1517. For this information, see Salvador Miranda, "The Cardinals of the
65. Vasari, Le vite, vol. 4; discussed in David Freedberg, The Power of Images: Holy Roman Church," www.fiu.edu/~mirandas/essay.htm.
Studies in theHistory and Theory of Response (Chicago: University of Chi 85. See Valerio Marucci, Antonio Marzo, and Angelo Romano, eds., Pas
cago Press, 1989), 346-48. Leonardo's anecdote is discussed in ibid., qu?nate romane del Cinquecento (Rome: Salerno Editrice, 1983), vol, 1,
the Virgin," 183; Nova, Francesco Salviati, 167; nos. 311, possibly 285 for
360; Holmes,
" "Disrobing '" youth; nos. 229, 257 for going about
and Clifton, 'Being Lustful, 159. "mascherati."
66. See Aretino, Ragionamehto, 297-98, for an example of the usage of tagli 86. Ibid., no. 318: "Farrei che quanti cazi ebbe Rangone nel suo forame, li
are in this way in the context of a passage about the "cutting" of the tenessi in fronte e ognun chiedesse el natural boccone"; and no. 321:
hymen. There are also other examples of this use of tagliare in carnival "concede grazia al cul di Cavaglione, che de' servizia sia sempre amico,
songs (see Jean Toscan, Le carnaval du langage: Le lexique erotique des po frequenti in sodomia Mantua e It seems likely that Cavagli
?tes de l'?quivoque de Burchiello ? Marino, 4 vols. [Lille: Reproduction des one was probably Giovanni Battista Pallavicino (b. 1480), bishop of
Th?ses Universit? de Lille, 1981] and in terms of the "cutting" of the Cavaillon from 1507 and made cardinal in 1517. See Miranda, "Consis
passive partner in homosexual intercourse (my thanks to the readers of tories for the Creation of Cardinals XVI Century (1503-1605)," www.fiu.
Art Bulletin for these references).
67. Rapresentazione di sancta Agata vergine, first page. The entire passage
87. Marucci et al., Pasquinate romane, no. 208: "Cavaglione far moresche im'
reads as follows: "Buon integra fede coniugale / miglior la continentia
vedovile / ?ptimo poi ? lo stato virginale / che sa ciaschuno a gli an palazzo con Rangone"; and no. 257: "Rangon, Pisan, Trivulzio e Salviati
van facendo la ninfa mascherati." For a definition of facendo la ninfa, see
geli simile / pero chi vuole el dono celestiale / seguiti riparo ancor the Delia Crusca Dictionary, "Vocabulario degli Accademici Delia Crusca,"
I'ornato stile / di Agata Sancta vergine beata / che la sua vita vi sia
http://vocabulario.biblio.cribecu.sns.it/Vocabolario/html/index.html. For
feminized young men and homosexual practice, see Michael Rocke, Forbid
68. Vor?gine, The Golden Legend, vol. 1, 155. den Friendships: Homosexuality and Male Culture in Renaissance Florence (New
69. Ibid. York: Oxford University Press, 1996), 102-11.

70. See Schweikhart, "Der Torso im fr?hen 16. Jahrhundert," 315. 88. Guidi Posthumi Silvestris, Elegiarum, libri II (Naples: Giovanni de Sallo,
1520-24). Both books are dedicated to Giulio de' Medici, and the
71. For early-sixteenth-century attitudes to the antique in Rome, see Ingrid
The Culture of theHigh Renaissance: Ancients and Moderns in poem about Ercole Rangone is in the second book, fols. 53v-58v. I
date the composition of this poem to about 1520, the same year as the
Sixteenth-Century Rome (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998),
as itmentions
on painting's completion, "the recent marriage of your sis
193-254; John O' Malley, "Giles of Viterbo: A Reformer's Thought
Renaissance ter," which took place in 1519; see Archivio di Stato di Firenze, Medi
Rome," Renaissance Quarterly 20 (1967): 1-11; Charles L.
ceo avanti il Principato, 142, no. 45.
Stinger, "Roman Humanist Images of Rome," in Roma Capitale (1417
1527), ed. Sergio Gensini (San Miniato: Ministero per i Beni Culturali 89. Silvestris, Elegiarum, bk. 2, fol. 57r: "Fas prohibet rixas et turpia crimina
e Ambientali, Ufficio Centrale per i Beni Archivistici, 1994), 15-38; and caedis, Non ut non fidae pectus amantis ames. Finge tarnen scelsus
John F. D'Amico, Renaissance Humanism in Papal Rome: Humanists and esse, meum te propt?r Amor?."
Churchmen on theEve of theReformation (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Uni
90. Beroaldo, "Ad Herculem Rangonem Comitem," in Philippi Beroaldi boni
versity Press, 1983), 144-60. ensis iunoris, fols. 15r-16r: "Et desiderio tui / Ardentem Gliceren cer
72. Discussed in Steven Ozment, The Age of Reform, 1250-1550: An Intellec nis, et emori / Praesentem nisi opem feras, / Tu Rango tarnen hanc
tual and Religious History of Late Medieval and Reformation Europe (New durus, et insolens / Toruo lumine despicis / Et nec blanditiis, ne ca
Haven: Yale University Press, 1980), 383-84. For earlier Italian calls for
peris prece, / Ut sis nobilis et decens. / Nulli, nec Veneri est grata su
clerical marriage, see Georg Denzler, "Grundlinien der Z?libatsge ne tibi provo
perbia, / Est et quod timeas maie / Ultricem Nemesim
schichte vom Constancience bis zum Tridentinum in ces / Non semper decor in
(1414-1545)," genis / Vernabit roseius, non coma succina
Von Konstanz nach Trient: Beitr?ge zur Geschichte der Kirche von den Re
/ Cervici involitabit, aut / Implumes genae erunt collare eb?rnea."
formkonzilien bis zum Tridentinum; Festgabe f?r August Franzen, ed. Remi Beroaldo died in 1518, so this poem must date before then.
gius B?umer (Munich: F. Sch?ningh, 1972), 343-62.
91. For a discussion of these portraits, see Simons, "Homosociality and
73. I am conscious of hardly doing justice to Rome's fascinating sexual culture
Erotics," 29-51; for Bindo Altoviti, see David A. Brown and Jane Van
in a brief sentence. It has been considered inmore detail elsewhere. See
Nimmern, Raphael and the Beautiful Banker: The Story of the Bindo Altoviti
especially Talvacchia, Taking Positions, 101-24 and passim; D'Amico, Renais Portrait (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005), esp. 17-29; David A.
sanceHumanism in Papal Rome, 5-7, for its influence on humanism; and
Brown, "Raphael's Portrait of Bindo Altoviti," andjodi Cranston, "De
Storey, "Questo negozio" for prostitution and courtesan culture.
sire and Gravitas in Bindo's Portraits," both in Raphael, Cellini and a
74. Lorenzo de' Medici to Giovanni de' Medici, quoted in Merrick Whit Renaissance Banker: The Patronage of Bindo Altoviti (Boston: Isabella Stew
comb, Source-Book of the Italian Renaissance, rev. ed. (Philadelphia: De art Gardner Museum, 2003), 92-114, 115-31.
partment of History, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1903), 82-86.
92. See Guido Ruggiero, The Boundaries of Eros: Sex Crime and Sexuality in
75. See the English translation of the Fifth Lateran Council in John C. Renaissance Venice (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985), esp. 122
Olin, ed., The Catholic Reformation: Savonarola to Ignatius Loyola (New 26; and Rocke, Forbidden Frier\dships, 87-119.
York: Fordham University Press, 1992), 58.
93. As in Florence in 1403; see Rocke,
Forbidden Friendships, 30-31.
76. Filippo Beroaldo the Younger, "Ad Herculem Rangonem Diaconem
94. Agostino Vespucci to Niccol? Machiavelli, quoted and discussed in
Cardinalem," in Philippi Beroaldi boniensis iunoris carminum ad augustum
Rowland, The Culture of theHigh Renaissance, 24-25.
trivultium cardinalem libri III (Rome: Blosius, 1530), fol. 45v: "semissem
hominem indisertum / Pectoris macri, ingeniique crassi." 95. As Easton, "Saint Agatha," points out, male identification with Saint
77. Ibid., 46v-46r: "Sit mihi Princeps animi calentis, / Sobriae linguae, Agatha cannot be ruled out in any image of this subject, and given the
style of this painting and Ercole Rangone's it seems to
vegetaeque mentis"; "Separet rectum a vitio, malignum / A bono, ?nte public persona,
be particularly relevant in this case.
gros habeatque amicos / Quorum ope et firmis dubiisque rebus / Fi
dere possit." decrees on
96. The Tridentine images are translated in Elizabeth G. Holt,
78. Aikema, "Titian's Mary Magdalen." A Documentary History of Art (Garden City, N.Y: Doubleday, 1958), vol. 2,
79. Giulio de' Medici, quoted in and discussed by Rubin, Giorgio Vasari, 97.
97. For the opinion of reformers on erotic images, see Ginzburg, "Tiziano,
80. See James A. Brundage, Law, Sex, and Christian Society inMedieval Europe Ovidio e i codici"; David Freedberg, "Johannes Molanus on Provocative
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), 536-39; and Lawrence G.
"The Unresponsiveness of the Late Medieval Church: A Re Paintings: De Historia Sanctarum Imaginum et Picturarum, Book II, Chap
Duggan, ter 42," Journal of theWarburg and Courtauld Institutes 34 (1971): 229
consideration," Sixteenth Century Journal 9, no. 1 (1978): 19-21.
45; and Paola Barocchi, "Un discorso sopra l'onest? delle immagini di
81. Olin, The Catholic Reformation, 58. Rinaldo Corso," in Scritti di storia dell'arte in onore di Mario Salmi (Rome:
82. Richard C. Trexler, De Luca, 1963), vol. 3, 173-91.
Synodal Law in Florence and Fiesole, 1306-1518 (Vati
can City: Biblioteca Vaticana, 1971), 50-51. 98. Aikema, "Titian's Mary Magdalen"; and Stefaniak,
Apost?lica "Replicating Myster
83. See Storey, "Questo negozio" and also, in reference to portraiture and ies."
gift giving, Patricia Simons, "Homosociality and Erotics in Italian Re 99. See, for example, Stefaniak, "Replicating Mysteries"; Simons, "Portrai
naissance Portraiture," in Portraiture: Facing the Subject, ed. J. Woodall
ture, Portrayal, and Idealization"; idem, "Homosociality and Erotics";
(Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1997), esp. 42-51. and theReform of Art; and Jill Burke, "Meaning and
Nagel, Michelangelo
84. He is often mentioned alongside cardinals Francesco Pisani (b. 1494), Nic Crisis in the Early Sixteenth Leonardo's Lion,"
Century: Interpreting
col? Ridolfi (b. 1501), Giovanni Salviati (b. 1490), and Agostino Trivulzio Oxford Art Journal 29 (2006): 77-91.

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