Tag: Gay

Grant Wood (1891-1942)

Grant Wood (1891-1942)

Arnold Comes of Age

Artist: Grant Wood

Date & Location: 1930, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Media: Oil Painting

Where can I see this artwork?: Sheldon Museum of Art in Lincoln, Nebraska

Previously part of Hide/Seek: Differences in American Portraiture in association with the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery

Significance to Queer Art History:

Painted in the same year as American Gothic, this piece shows a homoerotic view from Wood. The central figure being Arnold Pyle, the artists assistant and a possible love interest as Grant surrounded himself with other men who looked similar. With a background depicting nude male figures bathing against an idyllic setting like Wood’s other paintings, this painting suggests sexuality and the coming of age of a man as the title ensues.

Resources and Further Reading

Arnold Comes of Age. Smithsonian Institution, npg.si.edu/object/npg_N-38.

“Critics’ Picks: Grant Wood’s Painting ‘Arnold Comes of Age,’ ‘Monroe’ on DVD and Queen Elizabeth II.” The Seattle Times, The Seattle Times Company, 3 June 2012, www.seattletimes.com/entertainment/critics-picks-grant-woods-painting-arnold-comes-of-age-monroe-on-dvd-and-queen-elizabeth-ii/.

Terry. “American Gothic: Grant Wood.” Gay Influence: Gay & Bisexual Men of Importance, 2014, gayinfluence.blogspot.com/2011/12/american-gothic-grant-wood.html.

Grotta dell’Addaura Cave Painting (11,000 BCE)

Grotta dell’Addaura Cave Painting (11,000 BCE)

Date & Location: 10,000 BCE in Mount Pellegrino in Palermo, Sicily, southern Italy.

Media: Painting

Significance to Queer Art History:

This cave painting was found in 1953 in Mount Pellegrino by archaeologist Jole Bovio Marconi after an explosion uncovered part of the site during the Allied Invasion of Sicily in World War II. The writings of Marconi describe her own interpretation of the depicted scene to be homoerotic in nature due to the male figures erect penises parallel to each other.

There are several interpretations of the scene depicted:

  1. The figures in a circle are tied in rope for a sacrificial ritual and splayed in arched-back positions by two shaman-like figures at the top with bird masks honoring the bird goddess.
  2. A homoerotic ritual conducted by the two shamans with the lines representing energy and/or male ejaculation at or after puberty.

Resources and Further Reading:

“Addaura Cave Engravings (11,000 BCE).” A-Z Of PREHISTORIC ART, www.visual-arts-cork.com/prehistoric/addaura-cave.htm. Accessed 15 July 2018.

Penczak, Christopher. “Before the Pen and the Plow.” In Gay Witchcraft: Empowering the Tribe, 10-12. Weiser Books, 2003.

Purpura, Giovanni. “Addaura.” http://www1.unipa.it/dipstdir/portale/ARTICOLI%20GIOVANNI/Addaura.pdf.

 

 

Mike Caffee- Fe-Be’s Leather David (1966)

Mike Caffee- Fe-Be’s Leather David (1966)

Featured Artwork: Fe-Be’s Leather David

Date & Location: 1966 in San Francisco, CA (USA)

Media: Plaster

Where can I see this artwork?: The GLBT History Museum in San Francisco, CA (USA)

Significance to Queer Art History: 
Created originally on commission for Fe-Be’s, the first leather bar on Folsom Street in San Francisco, CA.
This was a re-creation of Michelangelo’s iconic “David” as a leather biker icon. The iconic figure later appeared in other plaster and even bronze statues at bars around the United States.

Michelangelo’s David for reference: 

Resources & Further Reading: 

Caffee, Mike. Fe-Be’s Leather David. 1966. GLBT Historical Society Museum, San Francisco, CA.

“The Leather David or Fe-Be’s Statue.” The Leather David or Fe-Be’s Statue. Accessed August 2017. http://leatherdavid.blogspot.com/.

Caravaggio (1571-1610)

Caravaggio (1571-1610)

Featured Artwork: The Musicians

Media: Oil Paint

Date and location: 1595 in Rome

Where can I find this artwork?: The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, NY (USA)

Significance to Queer Art History: Caravaggio’s work, characterized by his dramatic chiaroscuro technique (chiaroscuro uses dramatic lights and darks to model the figures coming out of the shadows in a “theatrical spotlight” manner) were sensual and dreamlike. This work in particular hosts a homosocial event of music and its connections to love, as signified by the cupid on the left side of the painting.

 

Resources & Further Reading: 

“Caravaggio (Michelangelo Merisi) | The Musicians | The Met.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Accessed August 2017. http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/435844.

Saslow, James M. Pictures and Passions: A History of Homosexuality in the Visual Arts. New York, NY: Viking, 2000. 114-118.

 

Muhammad Qasim- Shah Abbas I with a Page

Muhammad Qasim- Shah Abbas I with a Page

Featured Artwork: Shah Abbas I with a Page

Media: Miniature Ink and paint illustration

Date and location: 1627 in the Persian Empire (Now Iran)

Where can I find this artwork?: The Louvre in Paris France in Islamic Art: The Modern Empires (1500–1800)

Significance to Queer Art History: 

This miniature illustration depicts Shah Abbas I of Persia and his page boy interacting and sharing wine. The imagery is soft and intimate as the page holds the wine flask erect towards the Shah’s crotch and almost embraces him. In Islam, sex was a positive thing. Sex between men was even held as a “spiritual bliss”, albeit not officially condoned. The small arabic lettering on the right hand side gestures at the bliss of wine and lovers, reading:

“May life provide all that you desire from three lips: those of your lover, the river, and the cup.”

All three of these things may be featured if the tree setting is in fact, near a river. This illustration also brings forward an allusion to the Koran’s view of paradise with all the blisses of life from the poem in tact.

Resources & Further Reading: 

Saslow, James M. Pictures and Passions: A History of Homosexuality in the Visual Arts. New York, NY: Viking, 2000. 146-147.

Summers, Claude J. “Erotic Miniature Painting.” In The Queer Encyclopedia of the Visual Arts. San Francisco: Cleis Press, 2004.

“Work Shah Abbas I and His Page.” Louvre Museum | Paris. Accessed August 11, 2017. http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/shah-abbas-i-and-his-page.

 

 

Herbert Singleton- Love that not Love

Herbert Singleton- Love that not Love

Featured Artwork:  Love That Not Love

Date and Location: 1990 in New Orleans, Louisiana (USA)

Media: Acrylic paint on carved wood

Where can I see this artwork?: Displayed in the past at the New Orleans Old Mint Museum as part of the exhibition, titled: Soul of the South: Selections from the Gitter-Yellen Collection. On display: November 20, 2015 – May 28, 2017

Herbert Singleton (1945-2007) , a self-taught artist from New Orleans, LA (USA) painted this to show the messages considered taboo (yet clear in the carved figures loving embrace) in the 1990s. Love between white men was just on the brink of hitting major popular culture and television at this time, while love between black men and men of color was scant, hence the title: ‘Love That Not Love”.

Sources & Further Reading:
“Herbert Singleton” Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery. Accessed August 07, 2017. http://americanart.si.edu/collections/search/artist/?id=7431.
MacCash, Doug. “Herbert Singleton, Noted Folk Artist Dies.” NOLA.com. August 02, 2007. Accessed August 07, 2017. http://blog.nola.com/dougmaccash/2007/08/herbert_singleton_noted_folk_a.html.
Unknown- Presentation of the Virgin at the Temple

Unknown- Presentation of the Virgin at the Temple

Featured Artwork: Presentation of the Virgin by Fra Carnevale

Date & Location: 1465 in Florence, Italy

Media: Tempera and oil paint

Significance to Queer Art History:
The male couple in the middle reflects “temptation” and modern relationships in Florence with their modern dress and the figure on the left (almost half way up the painting) “chucking” the other man under the chin in suggestive fashion. This was considered an erotic gesture and perhaps a lash at the purity of the rest of the scene that alluded to some of the contemporary lives of young men in Florence.

Close-up view of couple:

Where can I view this artwork?: The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA (USA) (Museum Council Gallery (Gallery 254))

Resources & Further Reading:

“Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple.” Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. February 05, 2017. Accessed August 15, 2017. http://www.mfa.org/collections/object/presentation-of-the-virgin-in-the-temple-32587.

Saslow, James M. Pictures and Passions: A History of Homosexuality in the Visual Arts. New York, NY: Viking, 2000. 85-87.

 

Peithinos Painter- Peithinos Cup

Peithinos Painter- Peithinos Cup

Featured Artwork: Peithinos Cup

Date and Location: (525-475 BCE) Athens, Greece

Significance to Queer Art History: This cup is a kylix vessel, used for male centered social drinking of wine. Most kylix vessels had sexual or humorous depictions of individuals on the inside (a surprise for finishing the drink, if you will) and outsides. This kylix vessel, signed by the painter, Peithinos, shows heterosexual and homosexual courtship on the exterior.

Where can I see this artwork?: Currently in the Antikenmuseen’s Collection in Berlin, Germany.

Resources & Further Reading:

“200977, Berlin, Antikensammlung, Berlin, Schloss Charlottenburg, F2279.” Provenance – The Classical Art Research Centre. Accessed August 08, 2017. http://www.beazley.ox.ac.uk/XDB/ASP/recordDetails.asp?id=5C03CFDF-D841-432A-8B2C-FAAD6697E456&noResults=&recordCount=&databaseID=&search=.

Saslow, James M. Pictures and Passions: A History of Homosexuality in the Visual Arts. New York, NY: Viking, 2000. 21-27.

 

Unknown- Tomb of Niankhnum and Khnumhotep (2400 BCE)

Unknown- Tomb of Niankhnum and Khnumhotep (2400 BCE)

Featured Artwork: Entry Fresco to Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep’s Mastaba

Date & Location: 2400 BCE in Saqarra, Egypt

Significance to Queer Art History: This mastaba is the joint tomb of Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep. The two men were the chief manicurists and groomers to the king in their time. The nose-to-nose “kiss” pose given to them is intimate and was only given to straight married couples for Egyptian art at this time.

The wives and children of the two men are shown in the tomb as well, but less prominently featured than Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep’s relationship. Khnumhotep is even seen to be occupying roles of a wife figure for Niankhnum in certain frescoes inside the mastaba.

 

Resources & Further Reading: 

“Evidence of Gay Relationships Exists as Early as 2400 B.C.” Egyptology. Accessed April 2017. http://www.egyptology.com/niankhkhnum_khnumhotep/dallas.html.

“Tour Egypt.” The Tomb of Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep at Saqqara in Egypt. Accessed April 2017. http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/niankhnumt.htm.

 

Kritios and Nesiotes- Tyrannicide Monument (477 BCE)

Kritios and Nesiotes- Tyrannicide Monument (477 BCE)

Featured Artwork: Statue of Harmodius and Aristogeiton (Also known as Tyrannicide Monument)

Original artists: Kritios and Nesiotes (477 BCE) in Athens, Greece.
The only remaining pictured sculpture is a Greco-Roman copy that can be signified by the figure’s dependence upon faux wooden bases

Where can I view this artwork?: Naples National Archaeological Museum in Naples, Italy

Significance to Queer Art History:

The warrior lovers Harmodius (right) and Aristogeiton (left) rescued the ideals of democracy from a dictator and were heroes to Athens in 514 BCE. Thus, the statues of the warriors were commissioned to be displayed in the public forum. This was the 1st statue to honor mortal heroes instead of divine heroes in public.

Symbolism to note: 

  • Aristogeiton, the older warrior (left) lunges forward and offers a protective cloak for Harmodius. This may symbolize the warrior’s mutual devotion and platonic love to one another.
  • Statues at this time were no longer static and archaic. Instead, they showed idealized realism and movement in posture as the figures place their feet forward and stand in contraposto (meaning, that weight is shifted to one side of the figure.)
  • Both figures are nude. Nudity in Greek sculpture was reserved for gods/ goddesses, warriors, and athletes.

Resources & Further Reading:

“Crizio E Nesiote.” Crizio E Nesiote — Sito Ufficiale Del Museo Archeologico Nazionale Di Napoli. Accessed August, 2017. http://cir.campania.beniculturali.it/museoarcheologiconazionale/glossario/ploneglossarydefinition.2008-06-09.8429349527

“Perseus Digital Library.” Classical Tyrannicides (Sculpture). Accessed August, 2017. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/artifact?name=Classical%2BTyrannicides&object=Sculpture.

Saslow, James M. Pictures and Passions: A History of Homosexuality in the Visual Arts. New York, NY: Viking, 2000. 17-21.