SODOMA, Il
(b. 1477, Vercelli, d. 1549, Siena)

Life of St Benedict, Scene 6: A Priest Shares His Easter Meal with Benedict

1505-08
Fresco
Abbazia, Monteoliveto Maggiore

Scene 6 of the cycle on the life of St Benedict depicts that inspired by Christ, a priest shares his Easter meal with Benedict.

In some of his scenes (e.g. in Scene 30) Sodoma illustrates successive phases of a single event. That this technique might be used to depict moment-by-moment developments within a particular episode is vividly illustrated by Scene 6, which also happens to incorporate a real window in the picture composition. A priest has just finished preparing his Easter dinner. We see him taking it out of the oven in the background. Suddenly Christ appears to him in a vision - he gestures to him from a medallion above the window - urging him to share his dinner with the hermit Benedict. In the foreground to the right the priest recoils from the vision, shading his eyes with his hand. Finally, he appears again on the left, seated across from Benedict at a makeshift stone table as a serving boy waits on them.