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Blessed Are The Binary Breakers: Manlike Babies, Cuckolded Joseph, & the Sex Worker Madonna

Manlike Babies, Cuckolded Joseph, & the Sex Worker Madonna - More From Neville on Morality in Renaissance Art

Neville and Avery talk about the weird Renaissance tendency to depict babies as small men; how stereotypes about cuckolded husbands influenced artists' depictions of Joseph; why the Church was so scandalized by Caravaggio's sex worker Madonnas AND the presence of dirty feet on Saints and pilgrims; and more. As you listen, Avery invites you to ponder: what is considered decent and moral in your own time and place, and why?

For a larger conversation with Neville in which they discuss being an Australian queer Catholic who both studies and creates art, look back to episode 38: "Finding the Power in Our Queerness and Rebellion in Our Love."

For an episode transcript, visit

Avery invites you to learn how to be an ally to sex workers through resources like this one.

And here is the link to their conversation with a friend on Cain, Abel, and disability that they promote at the start of this ep!

Talking points:

(0:00 - 5:56) Introducing the episode + promotion of "Abel-ism" ep (5:57 - 8:52) What is a baby, a small man? — cultural context (8:53 - 12:13) Joseph's "glow-up" in art from an older "cuckold" to a good stepdad — how stereotypes influence art (12:14 - 15:27) Depicting Jesus and other biblical figures as white, dressed in contemporary clothes (15:28 - 20:24) Caravaggio's sex worker & child who modeled as Madonna & child — reflecting on purity stigmas (20:25 - 23:08) Queer reflections on the rules against "imperfections" and what counts as a holy body — God created us to experience change (23:09 - end) Linear perspective avoided as "deception" until Da Vinci could show it could be "religious"

This show's theme song is "Aetherium" by Leah Horn.

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