Olivetan Monks worshipping the Cross

“Of their wooden [idol] my own people keep inquiring, and their own [hand] staff keeps telling them; because the very spirit of fornication has caused them to wander off, and by fornication they go out from under their God. On the tops of the mountains they sacrifice, and on the hills they make sacrificial smoke, under massive tree and storax tree and big tree, because its shade is good.  That is why YOUR daughters commit fornication and YOUR own daughters-in-law commit adultery.

“I shall not hold an accounting against YOUR daughters because they commit fornication, and against YOUR daughters-in-law because they commit adultery. For, as to the [men], it is with the harlots that they get off to themselves, and with the female temple prostitutes that they sacrifice; and a people [that] does not understand will be trodden down.”

- Hosea 4:12-14, NWT


On this day in 1504, Sodoma completed his fresco project for the refectory (monastic dining room) of Santa Anna in Camprena, an Olivetan convent near the Tuscan town of Pienza. Begun a little less than a year earlier on 10 July 1503, Sodoma had been asked to paint a frieze of grotesques on the window wall framing scenes from the Life of St. Anne and roundel portraits of saints. A fresco triptych showing the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes decorates the end wall, while a Pietà flanked by a scene showing St. Benedict Blessing the Constitutions of the Olivetan Congregation and another depicting St. Anne with the Virgin Mary and Christ Child Adored by Two Olivetan Monks decorates the entrance wall. Sodoma was then invited by the Olivetans to decorate the main cloister of Monte Oliveto Maggiore with scenes from the life of Saint Benedict, completing a project begun by Luca Signorelli.

Enzo Carli. “Sodoma.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. <http://www.oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/grove/art/T079496>.