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

Life of St Benedict, Scene 11: Benedict Founds Twelve Monasteries

1505-08
Fresco
Abbazia, Monteoliveto Maggiore

Scene 11 of the cycle on the life of St Benedict depicts as Benedict founds twelve monasteries and supervises their construction.

Some scenes of the cycle depicts the range of tasks that had to be accomplished to maintain the monastery's self-sufficiency. Among these are the erection of churches and other buildings in accordance with the founder's precepts (e.g. Scenes 11, 32).

The chief appeal of Sodoma's paintings is their realistic depiction of life in the monastery. The scene in which the monks are building a church (Scene 11) is a fine example. A mason perched on scaffolding supported by the capitals of a colonnade is nearly finished with the job of troweling plaster onto the brick vaulting. In the background another workman is whitewashing the new vaults with a brush attached to a long pole. A stonecutter kneels in the foreground as he puts the finishing touches on the base for the next column.