It’s not that I don’t like modern art…

Ok, that’s a lie. I don’t like modern art. I don’t want a dog poo on a dish to tell me of the human condition and if an unmade bed is worth a lot of money then my entire house deserves to be framed and I should be the richest person on the planet.

I digress – and so early!

I like rich, deep paintings with thick varnish, deep colours; I like symbolism and a story you can get lost in. I like unusual pieces, and portraits that look straight back at me. So here are ten of my favourite art pieces with a homoerotic theme.

Placing this entire post under a cut, and if you click on it, you confirm you are old enough to view art. ;)

1. The Warren Cup - made in the first century, and pretty much unshowable until the 1990’s. This spectacular and unique (as a survivor) piece is an amazing relic and one that shows us much about the Roman world. What’s depressing is that no-one is portrayed as ENJOYING themselves. The piece is now in the British Museum and worth a couple of million pounds. I love the details; the voyeur (probably a slave) – and the harness which has obviously been put in place for the very purpose it’s being used for.

2. Hadrian and Antinous in Egypt by Édouard-Henri Avril

One could argue that his art was perhaps pornographic rather than “art” – it certainly wouldn’t have hung on walls when it was painted! But I like it, not just for the explicit depictions, but the fact that the bodies aren’t perfect specimens and the rather flat look of the art in general. He did many pieces of homoerotic art, illustrations for many racy books of the day which I doubt were available in the ordinary bookshop!

3. Rather different is the School of Plato by Jean Deville – the setting is idealised, romanticised and highly unrealistic. Plato, seeming rather like Jesus in the centre and the only one covered – talks to 12 impossibly beautiful men (the same number as the disciples) in some sylvan meadow. Wikipedia says it’s not a homoerotic scene. I say BAH.

4. Bathing Group 1913 by Henry Scott Tuke.

I try to swallow my modern feeling of discomfort when I look at Tuke’s work. I adore the abandon of the brushstrokes, and the real feeling of a constant Cornish Summer.  If you scroll through this gallery you’ll notice the head and shoulders portraits of some spectacularly pretty young men, I just wonder what stories he told them…

5. The Death of Hyacinth by Merry-Joseph Blondel (1781 – 1853 ) I prefer this one marginally over the other version more often seen by Jean Broc because it’s not quite so effeminate – and the background is more detailed – you get more of a sense of Zephyrus here, I think.

6. Zeus and Ganymede. I love this picture and I have no idea who painted it. I prefer it over all the other depictions of Ganymede being abducted by an eagle. It shows a real sense of protection, affection and safety.

7. Phosphorus and Hesperus – Evelyn Pickering De Morgan (1850 – 1919) – I don’t get the symbolism (too bleeding lazy to look it up) but I just love this piece, it reminds me of the art of the art deco with elegant ladies holding torches.

8. Paul Cadmus – The Fleet’s In!

How could anyone not love this? The raunchiness, the rounded bottoms, the life, the colours – the wistful look on the old woman’s face. Apparently it was removed from exhibition because of the man with the red tie who the sailor is attempting to pick up. A red tie was a signal for “i am gay” back then. (Although I don’t think he needed the tie, to be honest.)

9. Howard Pyle’s Arthurian and Robin Hood Illustrations. This is Sir Kay, but my favourites are the Robin Hood illustrations, which I can’t find to show you. But I adore the pre-raphaelites, with all those wonderful Byrne-Jones’ parfait and gentil knights.

10. Bridegroom and Sad Love by Simeon Solomon (1865) – It’s not the art that I love in this, it’s the concept, and shows that men have been chosing beards forever.

Please share any others you like!

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