Sculpture Saturday *12

milkboys Art, Sculpture Saturday 7 Comments

Did we miss the (queer) point of one of the world’s most famous sculptures? Any thought of the biblical King David is bound to conjure Michelangelo’s 17-foot-tall marble masterwork. Although the sculpture, created between 1501 and 1504, has become one of the most famous artworks in the world, the iconic symbol of the Florentine Republic would not have been possible without Donatello’s earlier work on the same theme, which remains one of the most beautiful, enigmatic, and radical sculptures ever made.

David’s beauty also denotes ancient ideals revived in the Renaissance: the value of physical perfection as a virtue and a celebration of sexual relationships between men and beautiful male youths

Composed at some point between the 1430s and 1450s, Donatello’s bronze David represents a series of firsts in art history. It constitutes the first bronze male nude and the first free-standing statue—unsupported by or unattached to a support—since antiquity. At the time Donatello made the sculpture, the character of David represented how Florence saw itself: a small, mercantile city-state without a duke, and with a history of defending itself against more powerful enemies. But while the David and Goliath story became a popular motif in Florentine art, there is a subversive, queer side to this particular version.

Just a shepherd boy when he fought Goliath, David’s disadvantage is demonstrated here by his prepubescent physique. Naked except for a helmet, sandals, and shin guards, David’s androgynous body is smooth and unmuscular. He shifts his weight onto one foot in naturalistic contrapposto—rather than an idealized, heroic pose—with his hand resting on his provocatively jutting hip as he triumphantly steps his foot on the Philistine conqueror’s head. When viewed from behind, it’s almost impossible to tell what gender or sex the figure is. His hair is long and luxurious, and, judging by the traces of gilding, was originally presented as gold. In one hand, he holds a rock from his sling; in the other, the oversized sword of his enemy.

Read on…

Sculpture Saturday *6

milkboys Art, Sculpture Saturday 12 Comments

Apollo and Hyacinth by Stefano Ricci

Hyacinthus was a beautiful Spartan youth, beloved by the god Apollo.  As the good Spartan he was, Hyacinthus loved athletics, and one day the two decided to practice throwing the discus.  Apollo went first, sending the disc flying up to “scatter the clouds” as Ovid says.  Hyacinthus ran laughing after it, thinking to catch the disc, but instead it hit him in the head, killing him.  Ovid has a beautiful passage about Apollo holding the dying youth, desperately trying to use his skill with medicine to keep him alive.  But even the mighty god of healing could not save the one he loved.

In honour of his lover, Apollo makes a flower spring up from Hyacinthus’ blood.  Confusingly, this flower isn’t actually what we today call a hyacinth.  Most sources agree that it was most likely an iris or a larkspur, since the myth tells us that Apollo writes on the flower the sound of his grief (Ai, Ai).

The Death of Hyacinthos by Jean Broc

In a second variant of the myth, Hyacinthus’ death is actually a murderous crime of passion.  Turns out that not only was Apollo in love with Hyacinthus, but so was Zephyrus, the west wind.  Seeing how attached Apollo and Hyacinthus were, he grew jealous, and in an old-fashioned twist on “If I can’t have him no one can” he deliberately blows the discus into Hyacinthus’ path, killing him.  This version emphasises the terrifying pettiness of the gods, and the dangers of mixing with them, even if–especially if–they love you.  Like nearly all ancient love affairs between mortals and divinities, it ends in tragedy for the mortal.

Text by Madeline Miller

Pierre Joubert

milkboys Art, History 19 Comments

This is a collaboration post with the Destroyer blog, you’ll find an interview with Pierre Joubert over on his blog, go check it out!

Pierre Joubert (June 27, 1910 – January 13, 2002), was a famous French illustrator. He was closely associated with the creation of Scouting and could be called the father of the idolised image of the boy scout in France and Belgium.

He illustrated dozens of books and magazines with images of scouts and other lads in adventurous and escapist settings, shaping the daydreams of generations of young boys and teenagers.

Sculpture Saturday *3

milkboys Art, Sculpture Saturday 11 Comments

sculpturesaturday003

Priapus, son of Dionysus & Aphrodite. Tripod with young ithyphallic Satyrs as legs. Bronze. 1st century CE. From the sacrarium of the complex of Julia Felix in Pompeii. Found June 15, 1755. Shown in the National Archaeological Museum, Naples.

 

Sculpture Saturday *1

milkboys Art, Sculpture Saturday 13 Comments

statuesaturday001This is Sebastian. A statue inspired by Greco-Roman depictions of the youth Antinous, the myth of Narcissus, and the selfie. It’s made out of bronze and created using 3D printing technology. The version above was done by Casey Spooner with 23 carat gold leaf and semen. The whole thing is baded on a real life model as you can see in the video below: