Tag: homoerotic

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.

 

 

Achilles Binding Patroclus’ Wounds (500 BCE)

Achilles Binding Patroclus’ Wounds (500 BCE)

Achilles Binding Patroclus’ Wounds

Artist: Sosias Painter

Date & Location: 500 BCE in Greece

Media: Painted Pottery (Kylix Vase)

Where can I see this artwork?: Antikensammlung in Berlin, Germany

Significance to Queer Art History:

Achilles and Patroclus, are one of the most celebrated male warrior pairs in Greek literature after the Trojan War. Achilles is a young Greek warrior in Homer’s Iliad who possesses superhuman strength and ability as he was born from a nymph and a mortal. He is known for his only weakness being in his heel as his mother dipped him in the river Styx as an infant and held him by his heel. Patroclus is a warrior who grew up as a role model and companion to Achilles as appointed by Achilles’ father.

Homer, the poet writes the pair as two friends with a tender relationship later deemed as pederastic by the Greeks, where in which an older male figure mentors and cares for the younger as a “rite of passage” that could include sexual relations. After the death Patroclus, Achilles’ aim for fighting in the war became Patroclus. Achilles’ grief causes him insomnia and a great drive to fight and avenge Patroclus’ death at the hands of Hector, a Trojan prince and fighter for Troy. After Homer’s Iliad, the two can be found in art and literature demonstrating their bond and companionship.

Resources and Further Reading:

Gabriel Laguna-Mariscal, and Manuel Sanz-Morales. “Was the Relationship between Achilles and Patroclus Homoerotic? The View of Apollonius Rhodius.” Hermes 133, no. 1 (2005): 120-23. http://www.jstor.org.proxy.library.cpp.edu/stable/4477639.

Morales, Manuel Sanz, and Gabriel Laguna Mariscal. “The Relationship between Achilles and Patroclus According to Chariton of Aphrodisias.” The Classical Quarterly 53, no. 1 (2003): 292-95.

Winters, Riley. “Achilles and Patroclus: Brothers from Other Mothers or Passionate Paramours?” Ancient Origins. 2017. https://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends-europe/achilles-and-patroclus-brothers-other-mothers-or-passionate-paramours-008265.

 

 

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.

 

 

Gustave Courbet- Le Sommeil (The Sleepers)

Gustave Courbet- Le Sommeil (The Sleepers)

Gustave Courbet (1819-1877) was known for his realistic depictions humans and his sometimes even “gritty” depictions of life and the body as seen through the eye.

During his time as a realist, women’s rights movements in the US and across some of Europe were just getting into their places of mobilization. While many men at this time were “distraught”, they were also calmed by art of a voyeuristic nature to that surged at this time as Romantic authors and artists hinted into the “secret” and romantic lives of women.

Featured Artwork: Le Sommeil (The Sleepers)

Date & Location: 1866 in Paris, France

Media: Oil painting

Where can I view this artwork?: The Petit Palais in Paris, France

Significance to Queer Art History: Le Sommeil  was commissioned by the Turkish Ambassador to Paris for his private collection. This painting was catered to the male gaze in this way and for the fact that men at this time were indeed, interested in looking into the romantic lives of women who loved women for their own pleasure. While this is, one can see that the women’s bodies are realistic and curved instead of (to put this plainly for the times) “photoshopped” into magazine figures. This shows Courbet’s eye for realism. The strewn objects (pearls, hair clips, and blankets) are also in a fashion that shows prior activity and lust after one another between the women.

Resources & Further Reading:

“The Sleepers.” Petit Palais. October 03, 2016. Accessed August 2017. http://www.petitpalais.paris.fr/en/oeuvre/sleepers.

Saslow

https://www.jstor.org/stable/1483342?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

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.

 

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.