Il Sodoma

Leda and the Swan

Fast Facts!

Il Sodoma was born Giovanni Antonio Bazzi in Vercelli, Italy in 1477. He spent most of his life in Siena, and died here as well, on the 14th or 15th of February in 1549.

Il Sodoma's Education

Il Sodoma received his training in Northern Italy, schooled in a Lombard manner, heavily influenced by the example of Leonardo himself. It is said that Sodoma lived a fairly loose moraled lifestyle. His first master was Martino Spanzotti, who Sodoma apprenticed for seven years.

As a Painter

Il Sodoma is famous for his paintings, and he has done many, especially paintings involving Greek mythology. This shows Sodoma's secularism. Some of his paintings are:

  • Rape of the Sabine Women
  • Three Fates
  • Leda and the Swan
  • And many more!

Leda and the Swan

One famous painting of Sodoma is the popular subject of Leda and the Swan. This painting is so Leonardo-esque, that at one point, it actually convinced historians that Il Sodoma was a student of Da Vinci himself. It was only later that they figured out his true schooling.

The Concept

Leda and the Swan is about Greek mythology, which was a subject of many paintings during the Renaissance. Zeus is considered to have come to Earth in the form of a swan to rape/seduce Leda.

This painting has many portrayals by many different artists, the earlier depictions showing the actual rape, while the later ones did not.

Creation + Modern Effect

Because of this concept's popularity, and the myriad of paintings out there, only an estimate is available of when this painting may have been made, which is around 1512-1517. But no matter the time of it's creation, the piece is still seen in books all around the world, though the painting itself is considered lost.


The significance of this piece, and the concept itself, is that it strayed from the conventional religious paintings of the time: Leda and the Swan not only is non-Christian, but is part of Greek mythology, so it is a different religion altogether. This show's the concept's secularism, which is shown simply because the swan is Zeus, and turning into an animal is a very supernatural thing to do. It is secular simply because it involves a religion besides Christianity.


"Sodoma." International Dictionary of Art and Artists. Gale, 1990. Biography in Context. Web.

18 Nov. 2013.

Il Sodoma (Giovanni Antonio Bazzi), follower of, Italian Leda and the Swan c. 1512-17 North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC ARTstor AKRESS_10310356748 id=8DtZYyMmJloyLyw7eDt5RXol