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: