I finally had a moment to go through the beautiful volume On Ungliness by Umberto Eco. The collection of essays is divided in several chapters looking at the concept of ugliness through time - from ancient Greece to modernity. There is a part dedicated to the martyrdom of Jesus Christ. The book is definitely worth-owning with its exquisite photos (representing ugliness through the centuries) and excerpts from the works of Plato to the radical feminists. Eco's text manages to succinctly and beautifully talk about the development of the concept of ugliness. He makes sure that the reader understands from the very beginning that there is no idea of ugliness without the concept of beauty. Now I am looking forward to reading his History of Beauty.
Here is an interview with Eco by New York Times.