Il Sodoma 1477 – 1549

Il Sodoma's (originally Giovanni Antonio Bazzi) work bridges the High Renaissance and Mannerist styles. He was active chiefly in and around Siena, where he settled in 1501. Vasari, who disliked him, explains the origin of his nickname - 'the sodomite' - in this fashion: 'His manner of life was licentious and dishonourable, and as he had always boys and beardless youths about him of whom he was inordinately fond, this earned him the nickname of Sodoma; but instead of feeling shame, he gloried in it, writing stanzas and verses on it, singing ot them to the accompaniment of the lute.' (Sodoma, who was married and had children) himself used the name in his signature, and Vasari's story has been questioned. Vasari also tells us that Sodoma kept a menagerie of strange animals 'so that his home resembled a veritable Noah's ark. From Web Gallery of Art

Sodoma's Fresco Cycle at the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore, 1508

Sodoma's large fresco cycle in the Cloisters of Monte Oliveto Maggiore is his major work: Scenes from the Life of St. Benedict. The frescoes have been spectacularly restored recently. Some of them were painted by Luca Signorelli. Here are a few of the 32 paintings by Sodoma. Photos from Wikimedia.

Benedict producing water from a rock(?)

Benedict in a dream predicts the destruction of Monte Cassino

Benedict giving the habit to a monk

Sodoma with some of his exotic animals (Benedict miraculously repairs a broken table)

Self-portrat of Sodoma from above fresco.