Sacred Impiety, Artist's Notes: 

It began in the back of a Honda Civic on a road trip to Atlanta… as a sketch/self-portrait of Adam and myself as Eve getting married in the Garden of Eden, with no clothing except for my veil… I tucked this drawing into my sketchbook for reflection, where the dichotomy of the sacred and profane began expressing itself as a series of sexually charged small pencil sketches of the human body, with an eye toward the saints and apostles as rendered by the Masters of the Renaissance.

I then started sketching the Caravaggio portraits of Saint Sebastian, drawn lifelike, but with the word holy like a mask in place of his face…In adding to the work, I started penciling words around the sketch that imbued the liturgy of the subject matter alongside the homoeroticism of having lengthened Saint Sebastian’s body and enlarged his sexual organs…I had now arrived at a state of Sacred Impiety…

I started painting and adding pieces drawn from further works by Caravaggio and new ones from Michelangelo and El Greco. In its final iteration, Sacred Impiety became eight 60"x52" paintings of oil and acrylic on canvas. Each work consisted of a solid background from a Northern Renaissance period hue, a dominant sexualized figure study from Renaissance/Mannerist religious art, a masked face showing emotional dissonance, and a word study baiting one of the seven virtues in a dog fight against its opposite transgression.

At the opening at Build Gallery in San Francisco, I played Gregorian monk chants and served private label Sacred Impiety water and wine, which gave the reception equal parts art and pageantry.

To see more work from Sacred Impiety or to read the artist statement, please e-mail me at

1. Dying Slave (the Avarice of Generosity), 2002. 60"x52": oil and acrylic on canvas.
2. Saint Sebastian (the Impiety of Being Sacred), 2002. 60"x52": oil and acrylic on canvas.
3. Flagellation of Christ (the Vanity of Humility), 2002. 60"x52": oil and acrylic on canvas.

© CHRISTOPHER STOUT — All rights reserved