PIETRO ARETINO, Renaissance writer and dramatist, born (d: 1556); an Italian author, playwright, poet and satirist who wielded immense influence on contemporary art and politics and invented modern literate pornography, notably in La Cazzaria (“The Book of the Prick”). This colorful writer and dramatist, described as the first professional writer of his century, was probably the son of a cobbler, although he preferred to claim he was illegitimate and of noble origin. His patrons included Popes (Leo X, Clement VII), Cardinals, kings (Francois I and Emperor Charles V) and other connoisseurs of the porn of the age.

He had a flair for self-dramatization, a fertile dirty mind, and an uncanny knack for profiting from the politics of his age. He first achieved notoriety for a series of pornographic sonnets, each describing a different position of sexual intercourse, and each illustrated by Giulio Romano and in which he declares himself to have been a sodomite from birth.

In a letter to Giovanni de Medici written in 1524 Aretino encloses a satirical poem saying that due to a sudden aberration he has fallen in love with a female cook and “temporarily switched from boys to girls…” Later he was known and admired for his ragionamenti – dialogues, often audaciously filthy, on contemporary Roman life. Public figures so feared his clever and vicious pen that Aretino became rich from promising not to write on certain subjects.  He is said to have died from a stroke while laughing at a dirty joke.