Saturday, 22 June 2013

A Little Gay History

The Warren Cup

From the BBC website:
The British Museum has launched a guide focusing on elements of homosexuality to be found in its collection.

A Little Gay History draws on objects ranging from ancient Egyptian papyri and the erotic scenes on the Roman Warren Cup to images by David Hockney.

Written by curator Richard Parkinson, it explores artistic portrayals of what it means to be gay and the difficulties in finding records of same-sex desire.

Antinous, lover of the Emperor Hadrian
Timed to tie in with the London Gay Pride festival, which takes place next week, the podcast - which also features artist Maggi Hambling and writer Kate Smith - discusses a number of key objects in the Museum's collection from ancient to modern times.

"Museums have always been very important spaces for people to consider their own sexual identity," explained Mr Parkinson - curator in the ancient Egypt department - in the guide.

"Most museums have collections of Greek and Roman statues which show men looking very naked, so for men who desired other men it was one of the few spaces where they could look at naked male bodies in a culturally respectable sort of way."

The project began with Same-sex desire and gender identity, launched as part of LGBT History Month in 2010.

It has since been developed into Mr Parkinson's book, and recognises the importance of gay role models throughout history.
The guide is accompanied by an audio trail featuring Simon Russell Beale:

If the player doesn't work, click here for the audio stream.

A Little Gay History, £9.99 from the the British Museum shop

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