Sodoma (Giovanni Antonio Bazzi)

Dates1477 - 1549
BornVercelli, Italy
DiedSiena, Italy

On his 1531 tax return, Sodoma listed among his possessions a monkey, a raven, an owl, a peacock, over thirty grown children, and "three wicked brutes, that is, three women." Long before the concept of a "Bohemian" lifestyle existed, he perfected an anti-middle-class way of living. According to Giorgio Vasari, Giovanni Antonio Bazzi received the nickname Sodoma "because he always surrounded himself with boys and beardless youths whom he loved beyond measure."

A shoemaker's son, Sodoma dominated Sienese painting and worked successfully throughout Italy. After learning the rudiments of painting in his hometown, he saw Leonardo da Vinci's art in Milan around 1497 and soon incorporated his sfumatoeffects. Sodoma lived in Siena for about eight years, then went to Rome in 1508, where he frescoed a ceiling at the Vatican.

By 1529 Sodoma was a kind of official painter to the Sienese Republic. Eight years later he was working beyond its borders, but he resettled there around 1545.