A Brief History of Homoerotic Art
Homoerotic art has existed since the beginning of time. Ancient artists used it as a visual tool to turn people on. From statues of hot naked dudes to pottery illustrating men playing leap frog to large reliefs of group sex, virtually every public gathering place honored the beauty and virility of men. The erotic visual aesthetic mixed well with the public’s attitudes. If fact, sexual fluidity was an essential part of the ancient culture. The Greeks and the Romans did not believe there was anything vile or sinful with homosexual acts. Nor did they have any guilt associated with looking at homoerotic art. They just saw it as appropriate behavior.
The depiction of male-on-male action literally vanished during the fall of the Roman Empire. The rise of religion forced homoerotic art and homosexuality underground. Then everything went dark. That was until the Renaissance period. Sometime in the 13th century, this sexy subject experienced a bright resurgence, inspiring a generation of innovative thinkers and artists. Michelangelo is a prime example. Nonplussed by the request Pope Julius II to repaint portions of the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo drew inspiration from his fellow gays who frequented the local bathhouses.
The vilification of homoerotic art and homosexuality has been constant throughout our history. However, never more so than today as a growing trend of political noisemakers flood the airwaves with poisonous rhetoric. Their attempts to squelch freedom of sexual expression pulls us back into the dark ages. These prudish attitudes are creating a needless polarization within our society.
The Liberation Movement
At this moment, we are on the precipice of another Renaissance—sexual liberation. Love does not have an agenda. Sex (regardless of who it’s with) and art are an expression of the freedom that love brings. It’s an essential part of our social fabric.
Let’s celebrate the new 21st century—where every single person is equally valued. Let’s release our rigid judgments and worry so we can embrace a new world full of possibilities. Let’s chuck the worry of what our neighbors may think and get to know them as people instead. Let’s enrich one another through connections.
Let’s focus on what’s really important—acceptance, tolerance, and most of all, LOVE!
The art used for this article is credited to John Douglas. Learn more about him here.