Category: Bisexual/ Pansexual/ Omnisexual

Il Sodoma (1477-1549)

Il Sodoma (1477-1549)

Giovanni Bazzi, also known as Il Sodoma. (A mocking name aimed at Bazzi’s homosexuality that Bazzi later began to embrace) was a painter of the Italian renaissance, born in Savoy, Italy.  He was influenced by the prior works of Leonardo Da Vinci and Raphael in his historical, mythical, and religious frescoes.

Featured Artwork: Marriage of Alexander the Great and Roxana (1571)

Where can I find this artwork?: Fresco at Villa Farnesina in Rome
Significance to Queer Art History: Alexander the Great is featured in the middle, gazing at his soon to be wife, Roxana as she is undressed by cupids for their consummation of marriage. Meanwhile, on the right, a clothed Hephaestion (Alexander’s best man) leans upon the marriage god, Hymen. Hephaestion was a general in Alexander’s army along with being his intimate partner and personal body guard. The two were inseparable throughout life. This fresco by Il Sodoma, exemplifies Alexander the Great’s bisexuality through Hephaestion’s closeness to the marriage god. While not married by law, Alexander and Hephaestion’s closeness during the marriage of Roxana and Alexander remains.

Resources & further reading:

The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. “Il Sodoma.” Encyclopædia Britannica. March 31, 2017. Accessed August 2017. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Il-Sodoma.

Saslow, James M. Pictures and Passions: A History of Homosexuality in the Visual Arts. New York, NY: Viking, 2000. 97-99.

Michael Page- Bisexual Pride Flag (1998)

Michael Page- Bisexual Pride Flag (1998)

Michael Page is a Florida based bisexual activist, creator of BiCafe (closed) and BiNet USA volunteer.

Featured Artwork: Bisexual Pride Flag

Date and Location: December 5, 1998 in Florida, USA

Significance to Queer Art History: The Bisexual Pride flag was created by Michael Page and debuted on December 8, 1998 on BiCafe . com (now defunct.) Page wanted to create a prominent symbol for the bisexual community just as the gay pride (rainbow) flag was prominent to the gay community after its creation by Gilbert Baker in 1978. He chose the colors for the flag for the popular “Bi-Angles” symbol of triangles and combined them into a flag that used 40% pink (to represent homosexuality), 20% purple (to represent a combination of homosexuality and heterosexuality), and 40% blue (to represent heterosexuality).

The pantone color codes from Page are as follows: PMS 226, 258, and 286

Bi-Angles symbol that inspired Michael Page (Creator Unknown): 

Resources & Further Reading:

Baxter-Williams, Libby. “Hoisting Our Colours: A Brief History of the Bisexual Pride Flag.” Biscuit. Accessed August 25, 2017. https://www.thisisbiscuit.co.uk/hoisting-our-colours-a-brief-history-of-the-bisexual-pride-flag/.

Ruocco, Caroline. “Mashable Publishes an Up-to-date Compilation of LGBT Flags and Symbols.” GLAAD. June 16, 2014. Accessed June 2017. https://www.glaad.org/blog/mashable-publishes-date-compilation-lgbt-flags-and-symbols.

Wong, Curtis M. “‘Celebrate Bisexuality Day’ Exists Because Of These Three LGBT Activists.” The Huffington Post. September 24, 2013. Accessed August 2017. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/24/celebrate-bisexuality-day_n_3977289.html.

Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528)

Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528)

Albrecht Dürer was a printmaker and painter from Nuremberg Germany. His prints are considered prolific to the German Renaissance. Dürer worked and traveled to Italy much during his studies of visual arts and spent time with a lifelong and rumored intimate partner, Willibald Prickheimer, a German lawyer and humanist author. This intimacy was documented through letters that also discussed Durer’s dual lust for German girls and soldiers. Dürer even created a charcoal portrait of Prickheimer with a quite blatant Greek quotation that roughly translates to: “With the cock in your asshole”

Featured Artwork: The Bath House

Date and location: 1496 in Germany

Media: Woodcut Print

Where can I see this artwork?:  The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City (not currently on view)

Significance to Queer Art History: 

Durer’s Bath House explores a homosocial environment of drinking, playing music, and flirting that illustrates Dürer’s experiences in bath houses and similar areas. The imagery proves to be homoerotic as well in placement of a phallic fountain at the crotch of the male figure on the left of the image.

 

Resources & Further Reading: 

Saslow, James M. Pictures and Passions: A History of Homosexuality in the Visual Arts. New York, NY: Viking, 2000. 92-96.

Schulz, Matthias, and Spiegel Online. “The God of Colors: Researchers Shed New Light on Artist Albrecht Dürer.” SPIEGEL ONLINE. May 01, 2012. Accessed July 2017. http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/new-details-emerge-on-artist-duerer-ahead-of-exhibition-a-830282.html.

“Albrecht Dürer | The Bath House | The Met.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, I.e. The Met Museum. Accessed July  2017. http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/388481.

(1471-1528), Albrecht Dürer. “Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) – The Bath House.” Royal Collection Trust. July 12, 1495. Accessed July 2017. https://www.royalcollection.org.uk/collection/800195/the-bath-house.

Frida Kahlo (1907-1954)

Frida Kahlo (1907-1954)

Frida Kahlo, born in 1907, claimed she was born in 1910, the year that the Mexican revolution began. She was proud of Mexican culture and heritage. Thus, she showed this through her art and life in Mexico. Her works centered on her identity, passions, and pain. Kahlo suffered from polio as a child and later, almost died from a bus accident. She began her focus on painting while in a body cast during this time. As she worked through her life, more health complications came up for her, including miscarriages that resulted from the bus accident. This resulted in more artworks delving into her pain. Kahlo was noted as bisexual for her various lovers and love for women in her life. She was passionate about maintaining her gardens and her pets, including dogs, spider monkeys, birds, and even a deer. Perhaps one of Kahlo’s greatest passions in her life was fellow painter, Diego Rivera. While both Kahlo and Rivera had affairs and a tumultuous relationship, having married twice, they each were passionate about the other.

Featured Artwork: Two Nudes in the Forest (The Earth Itself)
two-nudes-in-the-forest-the-earth-itself

Date and location: 1939 in Mexico

Media: Oil on metal

Significance to Queer Art History:
This painting was originally created as a gift for Kahlo’s intimate partner, Delores del Rio, who was a popular Mexican actress in the 1920s-30s.

Symbolism:
The two women symbolize feminine sexuality as well as Frida’s dual identities comforting one another as European (signified by the figure with light skin) and Mestiza.

The painting also contains a monkey (a common symbol in Frida’s paintings and life as she owned several spider monkeys.) Monkeys, however, are also common symbols for sin and sexual promiscuity.

Resources & Further Reading:

“Biography of Frida Kahlo.” Biography | Frida Kahlo. Accessed April 13, 2017. https://www.frida-kahlo-foundation.org/biography.html.

Saslow, James M. Pictures and Passions: A History of Homosexuality in the Visual Arts. New York, NY: Viking, 2000. 237-38

“Two Nudes in the Forest (The Earth Itself).” Frida Kahlo: Paintings, Biography, Quotes. Accessed April 13, 2017. https://www.fridakahlo.org/two-nudes-in-the-forest.jsp.