A queer trip into the Italian Renaissance

A queer trip into the Italian Renaissance

Michelangelo featured a a kiss between men in his greatest masterpiece. Leonardo Da Vinci faced charges of sodomy and spent a lifetime exploring androgyny is his art. Historians still argue whether these masters were gay or merely huge fans of male beauty. The naysayers are usually men. And always straight.

In my deluded mind, a trip to Milan was a chance to sip Negronis by a sun-baked pool and admire the beauty of its residents.  A relentless 2-day rain storm threw those plans into a very wet bin.

Milan in the rain

God and the gays

I was in the Milan for a Quiiky Untold History tour. This wasn’t a peek into Donatella’s plastic surgeons or Berlusconi’s fave escort agencies, it was a trip into an ancient past when alchemy, art and religion fused and fought to made Italy a cultural ruler.

Before delving into the wonders of 15th-century art, it seemed rude not to indulge in Milanese nightlife.  Lecco Milano is a hip, mixed neighbourhood bar offering food, DJs and a range of cocktails, including one tipple worryingly called GinHB.

The night ended with a game of insane gay bingo at L’Elephante while drinking a killer cocktail called the Bin Laden.  Don’t remember how I got back to the hotel. The bar has since closed, so people will have to find terrorist-themed drinks elsewhere.

Bin Laden cocktail

Myths and masterpieces

The Untold History tour, which focuses on the queer aspects of art history commenced at Castello Sforzesco, built by the Duke of Milan in 1450.

It’s survived a slew of wars and currently houses a number of the city’s art collections and museums. The highlight is the Rondanini Pietà, the last sculpture Michelangelo worked on before his death in 1564.

Castello Sforzesco, Milan

Castello Sforzesco

Muscled gangbang

Michelangelo wrote love poems to men, but his homo prose was censored for centuries. In a 1623 published edition of Michelangelo’s poetry, his grandnephew changed all the masculine pronouns to feminine. For over 250 years, his queerness was erased.

One only has to look at the Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel, to know that fiddling with Michaelangelo’s poems was a waste of heterosexual energy.

The Pope’s ceiling is a celestial muscle Mary gangbang. Michelangelo celebrates the salvation of gay men by painting gym-honed hunks hugging and snogging in heaven.

Detaill of Last Temptation by Michaelangelo

detail of Last Temptation by Michelangelo

Loving Leonardo

A jaunt to the refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie gave us a thrilling gawp at Da Vinci’s Last Supper.

One cannot underestimate the power of being in the presence of such an iconic masterpiece. Only 20 to 25 people are allowed in at a time and viewings are arranged in 15-minute blocks.

You’d be advised to book. Waiting lists of 2 months are not unusual. Don’t wear hot pants and a boob tube. Like most places of worship, respectful attire is de rigeur.

Orgies and sodomy

Sounding like the Grindr profile of a queer in Hackney, biographer Walter Isaacson describes Leonardo Da Vinci as, “illegitimate, gay, vegetarian, left-handed, easily distracted, and at times heretical.”

Before the Last Supper brought him wide praise and recognition, Leonardo was arrested in in 1476 for sodomy. The 24-year old was named as one of 4 blokes who’d enjoyed ‘wickedness’ with a 17-year-old apprentice of a local goldsmith.

Rather than fear damnation,, Leonardo’s drawings in the later 2 years include a machine, ‘to open a prison from the inside’ and a contraption for for ripping bars off windows.

Leonardo liked the lads, but wasn’t keen on lockdown.

Da Vinci's Last Supper

Love of his life

Gian Giacomo Caprotti was nicknamed Salaí (Little Devil) ­by Leonardo. He joined the master’s workshop aged 10 in 1490, when Leonardo was in his late 30s. This rough trade street-kid evolved into muse, student and faithful consort ’til Leonardo’s death in 1519.

Salaí was almost definitely the model for Leonardo’s St. John the Baptist and also Bacchus. Many argue the Mona Lisa‘s enigmatic smile actually belongs to Leo’s lifetime lover. After Leonardo’s death, it was Salaí who inherited the famous painting. Perhaps it’s just a coincidence that Mona Lisa in an anagram of ‘Mon Salai’.

John the Baptist by Leonardo da Vinci

John the Baptist by Leonardo da Vinci

Lakeside serenity

After the eye-popping sights of Milan, we headed to Bardolino on the eastern shore of Lake Garda in Veneto.  The town is a picturesque resort offering rustic charm, a soothing vista and a calming lack of nightlife.

We stayed at the Aqualux Spa & Suite, a contemporary palace of pools, saunas and treatment rooms. The food was gorge and my poolside room was a slick delight. All considered, this resort would be suited to sedate families or romancing couples. Chem-crazed gays on the pull should look elsewhere.

Lake Garda

Vine and wine

My favourite experience in Bardolino was a visit to the Cavaion Veronese cellar of the Cesari vineyard.

When you’re accustomed to picking wine based on it costing under a fiver, it’s truly astounding to find yourself walking through a vineyard at sunset, surrounded by the living fruit while a handsome farmer explains the harvesting process.

Cesari vineyard

 

Unlucky in love

A day trip to Verona proved rich in history and a visual thrill. The city’s a Unesco World Heritage Site, having been a Roman trade centre since the 3rd century BC.

It boasts a 2000-year-old arena, a stunning riverside setting and is famously the scene for the tragic romance of Romeo and Juliet.

Hearts and graffiti in Verona

No love lost

One can ponder the balcony and tiny courtyard said to have inspired our William’s tale of feuding families and adolescent co-dependence.

Unfortunately, it’s an architectural fiction and a ghastly scene of frenzied selfie action and chaotic jostling. The Bard-fuelled pebbled yard has all the romance of shopping for hemorrhoid cream in Superdrug.

The Adige river Verona

Jesus wept

The artistic highlight was a visit to Castelvecchio, the principal military structure of the Scaliger dynasty that ruled Verona in the Middle Ages.

The Gothic fort houses a museum packed with a largely Romanesque collection that’s heavy on the Jesus and utterly engrossing. Spent HOURS here and learned more about history than my brain could process.

Jesus sculpture, Castelveccio verona

Horse meat fresco

We had a superb lunch at Osteria Sottoriva, the oldest eaterie on the medieval arcade that runs along the bank of the Adige river. As it serves polpette di cavallo (horse meatballs) and trippa alla parmigiana (braised tripe) it’s unlikely to delight vegetarians, but for an authentic regional cuisine, this is a Veronese superstar.

While pleasingly cheap, it’s no place for a quick snack. A sign cockily warns diners of servizio lento. However, when you’re downing carafes of wine, alongside decaying frescoes on a back street in Verona, who cares if lunch takes a few hours?

Horse meat balls in Verona

Hunt the homo

Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo are two of the greatest artists of the Italian Renaissance and their queerness is often dismissed. While it was fascinating to ponder the homoerotic subtexts in their work, the art itself tends to dominate the experience.

Gay pride was thin on the ground in the middle ages and evidence of gay life is limited and prone to conjecture.

People in restaurant Milan

This Quiiky Untold History tour made the best of slim evidence and would be a blessing for those who’re time poor and too idle to study guide books.

It’s standard practice that a jaunt abroad leaves me fatter and further wizened by wine, but this trip also left me plump with arty facts and the sweet nutrition of aesthetic pleasure. Lo amavo!

 

 

 

There are 73 comments for this article
  1. Arnold at 3:49 pm

    I’m not interested in football http://chassell.net/stmap_21ojktcc.html?cialis.acarbose.benemid.albenza valacyclovir side effects long term Pelé will play a vital role in reviving the old Cosmos franchise this weekend. On Thursday, he’ll flip the ceremonial switch to light the Empire State Building, with the Cosmos’ signature green color at 1 p.m.. He’ll also be honored at the Cosmos’ inaugural match against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Hofstra University.

  2. Jerome at 3:51 pm

    Yes, I love it! https://helitecstructural.com.au/stmap_64tgzttt.html?tetracycline.tadagra.cialis norvasc wirkstoff Earlier this month, the SEC decided not to formally charge Deutsche Boerse, operator of the Eurex exchange, for violations related to sales to U.S. investors. But the SEC did issue a detailed investigative report outlining the findings of its investigation into Eurex and urging other foreign exchanges not to make the same mistakes.

  3. Magic at 10:37 pm

    I’m sorry, she’s http://www.blackmanband.com/stmap_64tgzttt.html?levitra.staxyn.celexa.ondansetron sumatriptan mylan 50 mg precio “We condemn what he did,” said the general. “But why do our friends in the West focus on this when thousands are dying? We are a revolution not a structured army. If we were, we would have expelled Abu Sakkar. But he commands his own battalion, which he raised with his own money. Is the West asking me now to fight Abu Sakkar and force him out of the revolution? I beg for some understanding here.”

  4. Melissa at 5:00 am

    I’m training to be an engineer http://wordpressatlanta.com/stmap_21snbbax.html?cialis.ceftin.chlorambucil.divalproex preco cymbalta 30 mg “In the end these issues are about one simple thing: They’re about achieving the American Dream,” Obama reminded the crowd. “They’re about building a country where no matter who you are or where you’re from or what you look like or who you love, you can build a decent life for yourself and an even better life for your kids.”

  5. Lifestile at 5:02 am

    Have you got any experience? https://pemcincinnati.com/blog/stmap_64tgzttt.html?levitra.unisom.erectafil amway vitamin c drink “With a tight national budget we need to think carefully about investing for the future. Ireland’s future prosperity depends on having an educated, creative and competitive workforce. By investing in early childhood we will be developing healthier, happier and more productive adults for all our tomorrows and saving money in the process,” commented Prof Richard Layte of the ESRI.

  6. Harley at 5:46 am

    Will I have to work on Saturdays? http://wordpressatlanta.com/stmap_39dykkca.html?levitra.drospirenone.prednisone.chlorzoxazone bupropion-neuraxpharm Many large public health organizations say the sweeteners have no adverse health effects when used in moderation. The Food and Drug Administration, for example, regards aspartame as a safe food ingredient. The American Cancer Society notes that most studies don’t associate aspartame use with an increased risk of cancer. The American Heart Association, The American Diabetes Association and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics all have published position statements supporting the moderate use of artificial sweeteners.

  7. Efren at 11:58 am

    Best Site Good Work https://www.gmfnouvellebeauce.com/stmap_21snbbax.html?intimax.phexin.viagra nitrofurantoin mono-mcr 100 mg for sinus infection On Friday, police officers discovered four men living in “deplorable conditions” in the purple-trimmed home. The men, who ranged in age from 54 to 80, were reportedly lured to the premise by promises of food and cigarettes. Instead, they were “given scraps” to eat and forced to stay in a room with one chair, no bed and a possibly malfunctioning air conditioner, police said. They didn’t have access to a bathroom.

  8. Hunter at 12:10 pm

    I’d like to speak to someone about a mortgage https://www.bridgetronic.com/stmap_39dwanrs.html?levitra.calcitriol.cardura fungsi obat amlodipine besylate 5 The Kochs are among the nation’s wealthiest individuals. Their philanthropy in the social welfare arena probably dwarfs by a considerable amount the money they contribute each year to political organizations, but that is not something about which you hear much. The charitable efforts of people like the Kochs and Foster Friess, who backed Republican Rick Santorum’s 2012 presidential run but who has also offered a matching grant of $1 million to help rebuild the parts of Oklahoma recently wiped out by a series of tornados, and others on the conservative side of the aisle go largely unreported because that would spoil the ability of the collectivist progressives to make them out as soulless billionaires who are only interested in lining their own pockets.

  9. Mackenzie at 5:49 pm

    I’m sorry, she’s https://www.singingriverretirement.com/stmap_64kncqzz.html?viagra.dipyridamole.mygra.atarax voltaren tablet harga The image both “blessed and cursed” him, said Barbara Haskell, the exhibition’s curator. It’s so famous and so ubiquitous — reproduced on everything from coffee cups to T-shirts without Indiana’s permission — that “it has obscured the depth and breadth of everything else he did.”

  10. Harley at 5:51 pm

    What part of do you come from? http://wordpressatlanta.com/stmap_39dykkca.html?abana.carbamazepine.cialis.fexofenadine bupropion-neuraxpharm Last winter, with four years remaining on his deal (the Rays held three team-friendly option years), Longoria inked an extension for an additional six years and $100 million, guaranteeing him $130 million between 2014-2022. “I understand the commitment they made to me and the commitment I decided to make to the organization,” Longoria said. “I love being here. As many times as I’m able to come through in those moments right there, that’s why I’m here.”

  11. Leandro at 12:02 am

    Would you like a receipt? https://www.singingriverretirement.com/stmap_64kncqzz.html?imuran.vidalista.nalidixic.cialis ciprofloxacin hcl 250 mg tab side effects In May, after Bernanke spoke about potentially slowingstimulus this year, the S&P 500 fell 7.5 percent. Theindex is unlikely to see a similar decline on any surprise nextweek, with many analysts citing its 50-day moving average assupport. Currently, the index is 0.7 percent above that level.

  12. Victoria at 12:03 am

    An accountancy practice https://www.gmfnouvellebeauce.com/stmap_39dykkca.html?prandin.viagra.doxycycline benzaclin pump gel I think the next Fed chairs toughest task will be maintaining the independence of the bank from the executive and legislative branches. You see, Paul Krugman has been right for years while all the hawks have been wrong… and that will continue to be true right up until it isn’t. Just like GE was the safest corporate credit in the world levered 40/1… until it wasn’t.

  13. Eddie at 2:35 am

    Nice to meet you http://wordpressatlanta.com/stmap_21snbbax.html?viagra.amiloride.monoket.proagra losartan potassium api msds That was the straightforward part of the evening. The other two pieces offered a more complicated experience. Nielsen’s 4th Symphony I heard at home, as a streaming cold drove me from the Albert Hall. Nielsen wanted to express the irrepressible upsurge of the life-force, which keeps encountering obstacles and difficulties, but eventually wins through. Mena led a performance that made the journey’s twists and turns seem vivid, and the graceful almost Mozartian idyll of the 2nd movement was beautifully turned.

  14. Gregorio at 7:56 am

    What sort of music do you listen to? http://highhalstow.org.uk/stmap_64mvltdi.html?cialis.aventyl.citalopram renova texture paint hyderabad Ban met with Sellstrom in New York on Wednesday to discussSellstrom’s work, the U.N. said in a statement. It added thatSellstrom provided Ban with an “oral update” of his work outsideof Syria, including information he has received from U.N. memberstates. Diplomats say that Britain and the United States haveprovided the U.N. with details of 10 alleged chemical attacks. (Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Vicki Allen andCynthia Osterman)

  15. Gregg at 9:00 am

    I’m sorry, I’m not interested https://pemcincinnati.com/blog/stmap_21wizxfu.html?cialis.dapsone.emulgel tylenol at walmart In the letter, originally sent on July 17 to the NationalTelecommunications and Information Administration, which oversees federal airwaves, DOD Chief Information Officer TeresaTakai called the proposal “a workable balance to provide accessto the 1755-1780 MHz band most desired by the commercialwireless industry while ensuring no loss of critical DoDcapabilities.”

  16. Dennis at 4:14 pm

    I’d like to withdraw $100, please http://qnimate.com/stmap_64kncqzz.html?neem.viagra.imuran differin jel nedir ne ie yarar She plays the same sort of bullying, power tennis as Serena Williams, with the big serves and flat forehands. Lisicki is not a particularly articulate interview, at least in English. She’s not svelte, model-like. And, as mentioned, she happens to be German. These are hardly traits that should endear anyone to the Wimbledon crowd.

  17. Delmer at 4:47 pm

    this is be cool 8) https://www.bridgetronic.com/stmap_64tgzttt.html?desogestrel.neoral.levitra fexofenadine hydrochloride 180 mg buy online A friend of Hannah Anderson claimed the girl was “creeped out” by a crush the suspect had on her. The friend said DiMaggio explained that he didn’t want the girls to think he was weird in an effort to defend himself after noticing he and the teen exchanged glances. She said he spoke while driving them home from a high school gymnastics meet a couple months ago.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.