Monday, July 14, 2008


At the 23rd Annual Conference of Arts and Letters held last month in Bareggio, Currado Malaspina startled the assembled crowd when he presented his unsubstantiated theory that Verrocchio was a woman.

It has long been suspected that the third figure from the right in Santo Spirito’s Saint Monica is a self-portrait. The fact that her back is turned toward the viewer indicates strongly, according to Malaspina’s far-flunged hypothesis, that the artist had something to hide.

Furthermore, it is significant that the painting in question depicts the mother of Augustine, the saint who famously devoted himself to the pleasures of the senses prior to his convenient return to faith and reflection. Like the memoirists of today, Augustine realized that on the page, vice was more gripping than virtue, so long as the author finds redemption before book’s end.

Verrocchio, according to Currado, was deeply shamed by his shape-shifting gender-hopping and sought a similar, Augustinian absolution through his wonderfully innovative depiction of religious imagery and his all consuming devotion the Florentine clergy.

After delivering his paper, the conference recessed and over coffee and cake, enjoyed a screening of Barbara Streisand’s Yentl.

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