Famous skeletons holding hands were male

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A pair of hand-holding skeletons–the so-called Lovers of Modena –in a burial site in Italy have been found to be male, according to researchers at the University of Bologna. The two bodies were discovered in 2009 and are believed to have been buried between the 4th and 6th century.

The sex of the skeletons could not be determined using genetic analysis at first but researchers developed a new technique using a protein found in tooth enamel and determined that both skeletons likely belonged to men, according to an article published in Scientific Reports.

This isn’t the first ancient grave site archaeologists have found with two people buried hand-in-hand; others have been found in Greece, Turkey, Romania, and Russia. But those were all male and female couples. And while researchers were confident enough about the couple’s relationship to name them the “Lovers of Modena” in 2009, discovering that they were both men has researchers confused.

“There are currently no other examples of this type,” Federico Lugli, the lead author of the study, told Rai News. “Many tombs have been found in the past with couples holding hands, but in all cases there was a man and a woman. What might have been the bond between the two individuals in the burial in Modena remains a mystery.”

Lugli said that it wasn’t common for men to be buried like this in this time period, but that their burial suggests a relationship of some sort. “In late antiquity it is unlikely that homosexual love could be recognised so clearly by the people who prepared the burial,” he said, suggesting that they may have been cousins or soldiers.

Yeah, about that…

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Call Me By Your Name director will create queer coming-of-age show

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Luca Guadagnino, the director of Call Me By Your Name is looking to bring his work to television for a change. Observer is reporting that Guadagnino is working on a queer coming-of-age series, directing the first two episodes (at least) and writing scripts with a pair of co-writers. The series has the tentative title We Are Who We Are and is set in Italy. The show centres on Fraser and Caitlin, a pair of teenagers discovering themselves while living on a military base.

One detail from this report stands out: “Fraser is actually missing his friend from home, Mark, while also developing an innocent romantic connection with an older soldier named Jason.” While that’s not exactly a Call Me By Your Name redux, it does seem like there might be some thematic connection between Guadagnino’s highest-profile film to date and his biggest TV foray yet.

Sculpture Saturday *12

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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…

Stilettos for all genders

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Stilettos are frequently seen as a sexist relic of the male gaze, but just as backwards as being compelled to wear high heels is not being allowed to. Men have been wearing them since O.G. royal fashion plate Louis XIV was tottering around Versailles in stacked red heels, but after France’s post-industrial revolution, society decided feet had a gender and relegated them to the wardrobes of women. Fast-forward to the increasingly gender-blind climate of today, where Harry Styles is rocking elevated boots and loafers, while Sam Smith pairs sparkly platforms with prim suits. But options are kinda limited if you can’t squish into standard women’s sizes.

Italian cobbler Francesco Russo is now bringing inclusive heel sizing to the market — and to stiletto enthusiasts of all genders. Russo’s new capsule collection, fittingly called “A-Gender,” aims to further divorce shoes from gendered stereotypes. The capsule officially comprises a classic Chelsea boot, a tasselled loafer, and a posh burgundy lace-up, with each style available in Italian sizes 35-45.

“It’s very defined in the market, what is for men and what is for women, but the reality is: That definition, which is a gendered definition, is out of date,” the designer explained to Vogue. “It’s not a polemic, it’s not political. It’s simply how society is moving forward. I think it’s in our duty as people who produce product to respond to the world… Between the gender you are born with and the identity you have, there are a thousand shades of gray.”

The capsule is modeled by Oslo Grace, a nonbinary designer who has appeared on the runway for both menswear and womenswear brands. Meanwhile Brooklyn-based gender-neutral heel brand SYRO is bringing towering platform boots and strappy stiletto sandals to feet of all sizes. All hail the nonbinary future of heels. [via i-D]

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Sleepy Sunday *4

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Full-time childhood, an alien time in which everything around us is passed through pure bodies and perceptions. One eye and a soul that follow invisible trajectories; only the instinct and the senses reign, along with the imagination.

I Cormorani takes us on a transfigured journey into this total reality. The film is an experiment in meta-cinema. A direct drive trailing the wandering of Matteo and Samuele: two twelve year old boys who live their long, lazy days of summer between nature and civilisation. The forest, the river and the mall become another dimension for us who observe them.

Their intimacy and complicity transfigures them unaware, in objects, lights, sounds and smells: of life and man, amplifying their objectification in a sublime fashion. Their and our way of being in the world, to find a sense of meaning.