Botticelli in the Fire & Sunday in Sodom presents wildly apocryphal retellings of two events—one historic, one mythic—that reconsider the official record through decidedly queer and feminist lenses.
Painter Sandro Botticelli is an irrepressible libertine, renowned for his weekend-long orgies as much as he is for his great masterpieces of the early Renaissance. But things get complicated when Lorenzo de’ Medici commissions Botticelli to paint a portrait of his wife, Clarice. What emerges is the famed The Birth of Venus and a love triangle involving Botticelli’s young assistant Leonardo that risks setting their world alight. For while Florence of 1497 is a liberal city, civil unrest is stoked by the charismatic friar Girolamo Savonarola who begins calling for sodomites to be burned at the pyre.
In the Bible she is unnamed, referred to simply as “Lot’s wife.” In Sunday in Sodom, Edith recounts how her husband welcomed two American soldiers into their house, the fury this sparked in their village, and the chain of events that led to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. But most importantly, Edith sets the record straight as to why, after being told not to, she looked back upon the destruction of her hometown and turned into a pillar of salt.