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Dirty Pictures: An Artistic Garland of Male Love

by Billy Bill in Films & Books , 13 oktober 2012

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

At least since the destruction of the Twin Towers there has been much ado about the hostile attitude of Islam towards homosexuality. Of course, the precision of the instructions how to kill homosexuals - not only by throwing them from the highest buildings, but “head down,” and then stone them - is of an outrageous perverseness. But with all the fuss about Islam, it’s easily forgotten that most other world religions are, deep down, of the same opinion.

Dutch author Peter van Maaren once said in an interview: “Uncles and aunts from my strict catholic family loath me because I’m gay. They would still prefer to throw me from the Rembrandt Tower.”

This universal religious revulsion makes one thing extremely clear, however, which is that homosexual practices are as old as mankind, possibly older than organized religion. In all their omniscience the Imams may preach that homosexuality is a product of occidental decadence, but their omniscience contains some serious gaps in connection with their own heritage. With some luck one may find for a few euros a copy of the book “Homo Art,” compiled by Gilles Néret and published some ten years ago by Taschen Verlag. This contains on page 186 an eighteenth century miniature, which shows two men indulging in the pleasures of fucking each other. This miniature originates in Persia, the present Iran!, and we might assume these men are Muslims.

However, not only the Middle East was once a hotbed of condoned homosexual activities. Anyone who wasn’t convinced yet, might learn from the history of art that gentlemen have dedicated themselves to the anal variation for thousands of years already. Even the obsession with sturdily built genitalia is not restricted to our own era. In classic antiquity they depicted well-hung men with veneration.

“Homo Art” and a lot of other, more expensive books present a world of more than twenty centuries of depictions of male nudity, all-male sexuality and affection. From the earliest days “gay” art didn’t seem to observe any restrictions. We are all familiar with Tom of Finland’s fucking leatherguys, but effeminate dandies in the eighteenth century enjoyed a thorough buttfuck too. The American painter Charles Demuth was obviously more interested in the butts in the tight blue trousers of his “Dancing Sailors” than in their female company. The boys of the sea have always had a special attraction for men-loving men, just as icons with a distinctly older patina such as Saint Sebastian. Some dream about Quaintance’s cowboys in a postcoital slumber, while others dote on Elisar von Kupffer’s androgynous ephebes.

In recent years some queens scream that gay men should act “normal” and distance themselves from their obsession with sex. A quick glance through the history of art, however, shows that mankind has been obsessed with sex since the Creation of the world. Who’s not in need of support by ancient masters for his lascivious urges, can find pleasure in the works by artists who dedicated themselves to specialized markets, including almost all of the fetishes as some of the illustrations on these pages show.  



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In the New Issue of Gay News, 326, October 2018

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