gay history at the Louvre

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Last month I was in Paris to do some research for our gay history and art tour of London and Paris tour in this coming August, and wow did I hit gold. We had always planned on including a tour of the Louvre: several local guides offer a tour of the Louvre following the theme of male beauty through the collection, and we intended to have one of them do that for us. But then one day I decided that our team should explore the Louvre for ourselves, and see if we could not instead put together a gay history and art tour of the museum like our Gay Secrets tour of the Metropolitan Museum in New York. And that turned out to be a very good idea.

The Louvre is packed with gay-themed works, from the ancient Greeks and Romans, the Italian and French Renaissance, and even the Napoleonic period: in short from every important section of the museum. There are for instance not one but four busts/statues of the Emperor Hadrian’s boyfriend Antinous: I am attaching the amazingly well-preserved over-size bust called the Mondragone Antinous, the size of which points clearly to its role as a cult statue.

There are also great Greek vase scenes, statues of Greek athletes, of the “hermaphrodite,” and so on; homoerotic works by many Renaissance painters, including the most languid of Michelangelo’s ‘prigioni’ and at least one Leonardo work based on his apprentice and great love ‘Salai’; portraits of the gayest French kings of the Renaissance; and some astoundingly homoerotic works from the Napoleonic period–showing male-male love in the middle of the most patriotic works. In short, the Louvre is one of the greatest, if not the greatest gay museum. And I will be thrilled to premiere this tour as part of Gay London/Gay Paris in August. To find out more, see my latest blog post for the Gay and Lesbian Review, on how sexy Paris is and always will be:

2 thoughts on “Gay History and Art in Paris–and the Louvre

  1. This article is great, thanks for sharing. Your desire to tour Motocoo is intriguing but also a bit unsettling for me. The state of the world and focus on gays makes me ask just how safe would it be? We have spent time in Sputhern Spain and visited all the places you mentioned in the article. It is one of our favorite trios. What we did not do was go to Morocoo and now regret. It is on our bucket list. Congrats on the award.

  2. Sorry I didn’t answer this earlier. I just saw the comment now. Morocco is generally pretty safe–knock on wood. As in many places, it is a bad place to be gay if you are a native, but no-one bothers gays visiting from other cultures. This isn’t of course ideal, but you don’t need to worry about your safety traveling there. Come with Oscar Wilde Tours when we do Morocco in a couple of years!

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