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

Burke, Jill
September 2006
Art Bulletin;Sep2006, Vol. 88 Issue 3, p482
Academic Journal
This article interprets the erotic imagery in religious art of the sixteenth century, in particular Sebastiano del Piombo's painting "Martyrdom of Saint Agatha." The picture shows Saint Agatha wearing only a cloth over her hips, surrounded by a group of men, two of whom are holding pincers to her nipples. The author presents all arguments about what level of eroticism is found in the painting and points out that the Council of Trent ruled that religious images should not incite lust.


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