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Patronage I: The Western World from Ancient Greece until 1900  
 
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As a result of the success of the paintings on the side walls, Caravaggio's reputation as the leading artist in the city was established, and he quickly received many further religious commissions, including the main altarpiece of the Contarelli chapel, which was to depict the Inspiration of Saint Matthew by the Angel. Despite Del Monte's intervention, the initial version of this painting (completed 1602, now destroyed) was rejected by the governing committee, which condemned it as sacrilegious. In this version, a sensual, youthful angel leaned against the seated disciple and placed his hand over his, as he wrote the Gospel. In the revised altarpiece (1602-03, still in situ), Caravaggio showed the angel extending down to the seated figure from the heavens. However, he retained the ruggedness of the saint and the contrasting sensual beauty of the angel.

Cardinal Scipione Caffarelli Borghese (1576/9-1633) was another queer ecclesiastic who was deeply moved by Caravaggio's paintings. In 1605, the Cardinal helped Caravaggio obtain the commission for Madonna and Child with St. Anne, a large altarpiece for Saint Peter's Borghese. However, recent archival investigations have indicated that Borghese also encouraged the College of Cardinals to reject the painting as indecorous, so that he could appropriate it for his collection.

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Borghese also acquired the Saint John the Baptist (1605/06) from the artist's estate shortly after his death in 1610. This brooding nude figure has the provocative, insolent aura of some of Caravaggio's early paintings of youths. By 1613, Borghese also had obtained the intense David with the Head of Goliath (1609/10), which represents the Biblical hero extending outwards a decapitated head with the features of the artist.

As Cardinal, Borghese undertook several projects for the decoration of the churches in Rome. Particularly after the death in 1621 of Pope Paul V, his uncle and protector, Borghese found the embellishment of church buildings a means to demonstrate his piety and thus to rehabilitate his reputation, which was damaged by rumors about his homosexual liaisons.

The reconstruction of San Crisogono, Rome (1618-28) was probably the most costly project of redecoration undertaken in any church in the city during the early seventeenth century. Gold covers the ceiling and many other surfaces. With the Borghese arms and inscriptions glorifying the patron displayed throughout, San Crisogono seems almost a personal monument rather than a place of worship.

Borghese also made lavish provisions for music to enrich the services in the churches under his supervision. According to musicologists who have studied this patronage, his musical tastes seem to have been quite conventional for the era, except in one notable respect. Borghese's obsession with castrati--male singers who had been castrated so that they could sing in the higher ranges, usually reserved for women--was considered exceptional, even for an age in which their voices were highly esteemed.

The Cardinal's fascination with castrati correlates with his general interest in the synthesis of genders, revealed by the pride he took in the Hermaphrodite (now in the Louvre, Paris, Roman copy after Greek original of 2nd century B.C.E.). Borghese's numerous provisions for castrati to sing at Roman church services helped to foster their increased popularity in the mid-seventeenth century. Thus, his patronage of church music helped to give a queer inflection both to the experience of worship and to prevailing musical taste.

The prominent Victorian ecclesiastic John Henry Newman (1801-1890) commissioned innovative church buildings that visualized his distinctive interpretation of the Catholic faith. Ordained as a priest in the Church of England in 1825, he was appointed vicar of the University Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, Oxford. Beginning in 1833, he was one of the leaders of the Oxford Movement, which sought to promote the High Church or Catholic aspects of Anglicism. In his writings, he vehemently opposed the current Gothic Revival style in architecture, which he felt did not sufficiently serve to convey the importance of the sacraments.

In the writings from this period, he also began to discuss other themes that would occupy him for the rest of his career. Although he emphasized the supremacy of celibacy over marriage, he also glorified same-sex friendships in homoerotic terms. For instance, he wrote about Jesus and the disciple John constantly holding hands and embracing as signs of the love which they shared, and envisioned them living together in Paradise for eternity. Newman's emphasis on the value of male "friendships" continued to influence students at Oxford, including Oscar Wilde, throughout the nineteenth century.

The extent to which Newman may have acted upon the sexual desires implied in his writings has been debated, but his commitment to same-sex relationships cannot be denied. Beginning in 1843, Newman lived with his disciple Ambrose St. John. Deeply distressed by the death of his companion in 1875, Newman insisted on spending the night with his corpse, and, for the rest of his life, he cried profusely any time his name was mentioned. Upon his death, he was buried alongside his friend.

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