Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Vatican Comes Out For Gay Art

The Vatican’s Gay Art Goes on Display

It’s no secret that certain Renaissance artists never led a straight-and-narrow lifestyle. Their sensual masterpieces reveal a laundry list of prostitution, sex scandals and death by overindulgence.
Raphael supposedly died of sexual excess. Leonardo da Vinci and Caravaggio were both accused of sodomy with their muse and models (young male prostitutes). And Michelangelo professed his love and desires for men through passionate love poems to Tommaso dei Cavalieri, an Italian nobleman.
Yet, until recently, the religious institutions that hold their glorified works of art most dear refused to acknowledge it. After all, sexual tolerance isn’t something historically associated with the Catholic Church or Vatican’s core principles.
But, with the dawning of a new leader, everything has changed. Pope Francis has, among other things (premarital sex, divorce), given a symbolic wink to the LGBT community—maybe he’s okay with it, maybe he’s not. But he’s definitely not passing judgment. Because let’s be honest: who did they think were snatching up all of those “Hot Priests” calendars anyway?
And nowQuiiky, an LGBT-oriented travel group, is looking to capitalize on the Vatican’s newfound tolerance. Their guided tours discuss the Vatican’s art collection through the gay lens in which they were most likely created.
“[Visitors] discover new ways to look at [the] paintings and sculptures they [are] supposed to know well,” Quiiky’s CEO Alessio Virgili told the Daily Beast. “Intelligent people like to look at the world from a new point of view. It is not [just] a question of homosexuality.”
Virgili, who has worked in LGBT tourism for years, formed the tours after realizing a large interest in Italian history from the tourism community and their openness to new intellectual avenues.

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