This is a re-creation of an obscure and scandalous incident from the history of the Popes. In 1501 the illegitimate daughter of Pope Alexander VI, Lucrezia Borgia, took his place at a meeting. Frank Cowper has invented this suggestive moment in which two noblemen part Lucrezia’s dress so that a Francisan friar can kiss her shoe.The room in the Vatican in which Lucrezia Borgia appeared still exists. It was decorated by the Italian Renaissance artist Pinturrichio. Cowper went there to copy it and painted the faces of the Cardinals from their original portraits.