Friday, March 6, 2009

Today in Gay History

Happy Birthday

Michelangelo Buonarrati, March 6,

His marble statue of David and his frescoes on the vault of the Sistine Chapel are among the most widely recognized examples of Italian Renaissance art, and their maker the most famous artist who ever lived.

By sixteenth-century standards Michelangelo lived to the exceptionally old age of almost eighty-nine, and he continued to work until only a few days before his death. From a working career that spanned more than seventy years, he left an enormous legacy in sculpture, painting, drawing, and architecture.

AND POETRY! -- reminds Band of Thebes in following excerpt from today's posting on that blog:

If we lived in a world that valued verse as much as image, we might equally revere his poems. After his sixteen year-old boyfriend Cecchino dei Bracci died, Michelangelo wrote 48 epigrams commemorating their love. During the three decades of his relationship with Tommaso dei Cavalieri, thirty-four years his junior, Michelangelo created more than 300 sonnets to him that were so beautiful and universal they became a popular book after his death, but they were also so obviously sexual that Michelangelo's grand-nephew rewrote all the masculine pronouns as feminine. (For comparison, fifty years later Shakespeare penned 126 sonnets to his younger male lover, and 27 to the Dark Lady.) This degaying of Michelangelo's desire endured more than three centuries until John Addington Symonds translated the sonnets himself for his biography in 1893. Other of Michelangelo's young lovers were Gherardo Perini and Febbo di Poggio. [Free advice: Febbo di Poggio would make an awesomer band name than Franz Ferdinand or Chester French.]

Again, as for the notion that gay sex (or the craziness of starstruck parents) is a 20th century invention, bear in mind that one of Niccolò Quaratesi's workers, trying to convince Michelangelo to accept his boy as an apprentice, suggested his son would also be hot in bed. The often arrogant Michelangelo gave a furious no. Art before everything.


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