Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Berlin & Art

My Dear Readers,
As you know I just returned from Berlin and France. I have only been in Berlin once before and when I was there this time I wanted very much to visit the Bode museum on that city's famous museum island. This museum had a lot of sculpture as well as painting from the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries, which I guess you call Renaissance and late Renaissance.

I particularly wanted to see a bust of John the Baptist, which is extremely different from how his is generally depicted. Here he is quite a fragile, pretty teenager. This bust is quite small also, maybe 8 inches high, which the photograph doesn't suggest.

As I went through the museum I was struck by how much of the male nude art really is homoerotic. These are not just men with their clothes off, but men depicted in ways that gay men would find beautiful. Women were not depicted nude much at all in this time period and the clothing upper class men wore was very revelatory with tights, very short breeches, codpieces to exaggerate sexual parts.

1. Peter Paul Rubens
Hercules Drunk Being Led Away By A Nymph And A Satyr, 1611

2. Andrea Del Verrocchio (1435-1488)

3. Giambologna (1529-1608)
Mars, 1580

I would like to know more about this but as far as I know no one has ever written anything about men admiring men in this time period in any notable way. Interesting.

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