A Hidden Love: Art and Homosexuality

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Prestel, 2002 - Art - 319 pages
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Homosexuality has always existed, but for centuries artists have felt compelled to codify its expression in their work, in essence hiding it from the public eye. In this dazzling and highly original book, Dominique Fernandez takes a close look at artistic works from the past centuries -- from rites of passage into manhood and representations of the hero, to the pantheon of pagan gods and the image of the lesbian -- to show how the most powerful representations of homosexuality have emerged from conditions of secrecy and even repression.

The book is illustrated with many beautiful and often daring works by Leonardo, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Canova, Lucien Freud, and Robert Mapplethorpe, among others. A Hidden Love considers the many styles and strategies by which artists, sculptors, and photographers have elaborated on the essence of homosexuality in Ancient Greece and Rome, the Renaissance and Baroque movements, Chinese and Japanese erotica, the nineteenth century, the official art of Fascism, and finally the modern and contemporary eras. Throughout, Fernandez considers the morality of each society, comparing artistic success and acceptance across the centuries. He arrives at astonishing conclusions which demand a fundamental reassessment of art history and the creative process, and which can be extended far beyond the realm of homosexuality in art.

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