Villa Farnesina och Sodoma: konstvetenskapens heteronormativitet marginaliserad
2007 (Swedish)In: Lambda Nordica: Tidskrift om homosexualitet, ISSN 1100-2573, Vol. 12, no 3, 33-60 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The Villa Farnesina in Trastevere in Rome, built 1506-1511 for the rich banker Agostino Chigi from Siena is a Sienese Renaissance-villa in which noble and harmonious architecture and pictorial decoration fuse into a synthesis. The sober volumetric and spatial articulation of the Villa, devised by the architect, painter and theatrical designer Baldassare Peruzzi from Siena, is a perfect setting for the rich decorative programme of the interior frescoed by great masters as Raphael, Sebastiano del Piombo, Peruzzi himself and Giovanni Antonio Bazzi, known as Sodoma. Villa Farnesina was built as a permanent and representative habitation for Chigi and his young spouse Francesca Ordeaschi whom he married in 1519, framed by frescoes with evident allusions to the glory of the banker, the ancient world, eroticism and love. The bedchamber that was to receive the spouses was the most intimate room in the Villa. Chigi wanted to allude to its function and commissioned the decoration from Bazzi, whose nickname derived from his habits. Beneath a magnificent coffered ceiling with erotic motifs he decorated the walls with a fresco cycle showing the wedding of Alexander the Great and his bride Roxana. The centerpiece of the narrative is the scene of the imminent consummation of the marriage, assisted by two men who are Alexander´s lover and the god of marriage. The decoration programme of Villa Farnesina reveals sexual norms, values and conventions, which can also be seen in the context of Sodoma´s work in Siena, where he married and settled down after leaving his commitment Stanza della Segnatura in the Vatican to Raphael. Influenced by Raphael and Michelangelo he successfully introduced la maniera moderna from Rome, including a spectacular personal lifestyle. Sodoma´s work is characterized by a striking sensual homoerotic charisma. In the Sienese frescocycles in Abbazia Monte Oliveto Maggiore, Oratorio di San Bernardino, the church of San Domenico women as well as men are flirting with each other. He had committments in prestigious environments as Palazzo Comunale, the Cathedral, Santa Maria della Scala, palaces and churches all over the republic of Siena. The organization of sexuality in his home-town seem to have given Sodoma a more solid artistic and social reputation than among art historians of the 20th century. Art history is a prim bourgeois discipline, which except for some Renaissance-experts in the 19th century focusing on the Florentine Renaissance has marginalized this Sienese eminent notorious Renaissance-artist. A queer, ethnological and historical reading of Villa Farnesina in Rome and initial impression of the sexual context of Sodoma´s work in the republic of Siena of the 16th century indicates a considerable appreciation of his homoerotic work as well as his personal image. Above all it reveals a flagrant heteronormativity and its mechanisms in the discipline of Art History in the 20th century, marginalized by Sodoma in Villa Farnesina.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Lambda Nordica , 2007. Vol. 12, no 3, 33-60 p.
Italian Renaissance, Villa Farnesina, decorative programme, queer theory
Research subject History of Art
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-112136OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-112136DiVA: diva2:285028