11/18/2010 05:50 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Was Michelangelo's 'Last Judgment' inspired by visits to brothels and bathhouses?

Michelangelo's fresco "The Last Judgment" resides in one of the holiest places in the Christian world -- the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican. Now a researcher is claiming that Michelangelo's inspiration for some of the figures in the 16th century masterpiece came from a far less exalted realm -- the brothels and bathhouses of Renaissance-era Italy.

As reported in Britain's the Guardian and Daily Telegraph, author Elena Lazzarini, a researcher from Pisa University, has published a study stating that Michelangelo was inspired by his frequent visits to gay brothels and Turkish baths. The author points out instances of homoerotic imagery in "The Last Judgment," including a man being pulled by his testicles and scenes of strenuous nude male activity. (From Los Angeles Times)

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