Tag: Ink

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.

 

 

Hans Baldung Grien- Witches’ Orgy (1514)

Hans Baldung Grien- Witches’ Orgy (1514)

Hans Baldung Grien was a pupil of Albrecht Durer in the early 1500’s. He lived in Germany along with Durer during this time. He is not rumored to have been queer, but was interested in showing women’s (specifically women rumored to be witches) “unnatural lusts” toward one another in this time.

Featured artwork: Witches’ Orgy

Date and Location: 1514, Germany

Media: Pen and Ink

Significance to Queer Art History:

During this time, women (mostly spinsters and widows) who were supposed “witches” were prosecuted heavily in Northern Europe. This lead to a spread of artwork and literature on witchcraft. Connecting to witchcraft was lesbianism, which was a supposed interaction of their “unnatural lusts” and “sex with the devil”. This was a reflection of society’s fear of masculine and independent women.

Grien’s Witches Orgy is exemplarily of the lusts and interactions of witches among each other in their gatherings and orgies. While no phalluses or broomstick shapes are found in the imagery as one would see in modern  and playful imagery of “witches”,  physical power play is shown over one another in the position of the figures climbing over one another.

Resources & Further Reading:

Saslow, James M. Pictures and Passions: A History of Homosexuality in the Visual Arts. New York, NY: Viking, 2000. 92-95.

Smalls, James. “Female Homosexuality in the Visual Arts.” In Homosexuality in Art. New York: Confidential Concepts, 2015.

 

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.