Perseus: A Homoerotic Sculpture
Homoeroticism is very present in art. Nude male beauty inspired many artists of the past and present.
This palpitating bronze Perseus, son of Jupiter and Danae dates back to 1883. It is the work of Louis Martin, a French sculptor. It is an example of homoerotic statue. Homoeroticism has been used in arts to create a sexual tension between persons of the same sex. This term also applies to homosexuality when there was no theory about this subject.
Another word for it was “uranism”, a word used in the XIXth century and invented by Karl Heinrich Ulrichs. In 1899, Elisar von Kupffer became famous in the homosexual circles when he published an anthology of homo-erotic litterature called “Lieblingminne und Freuddesliebe in der Weltlitteratur”, the two words referring to “chivalrous love” and “love of friends” to designate love between persons of the same sex. He considered homosexuality as an important aspect of a cultural and social practice that should be recognized as such.
He painted homoerotic themes like “Tre Anime” in 1911 and “Narcisse” in 1927. Male nude beauty presented by many painters and sculptors tends to glorify boys and men and appeal to an intense artistic and sexual emotion. Most of homoerotic works feature beauty, innocence and freshness, like the British painter Henry Scott Tuke did.
This Perseus can be admired in the Square Parat, one of the public gardens in Rochefort (Charente Maritime), France. It faces North, towards the eponymous constellation. It is almost hidden in the bushes, under high trees.