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

  title={Sex and Spirituality in 1500s Rome: Sebastiano del Piombo's Martyrdom of Saint Agatha},
  author={Jill Burke},
  journal={The Art Bulletin},
  pages={482 - 495}
  • J. Burke
  • Published 1 September 2006
  • Art
  • The Art Bulletin
Sebastiano's Martyrdom of Saint Agatha is only one example of an early-sixteenth-century religious image that deliberately evokes erotic desire in the viewer. The figure of Saint Agatha, derived from a broken sculpture of Venus with the features of a beautiful contemporary, was intended to provoke lust in its original owner, a young cardinal pilloried for his homosexual activity. The essential ambivalence of this work and others of the same genre should be seen in the context of Roman attitudes… 
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