Within the Galleries of the Artwork Institute of Chicago hangs a tremendous portray by the sixteenth Century Italian, Baroque artist Bartolomeo Manfredi. The identify of the piece is “Cupid Chastised”.
This portray depicts Mars (the god of struggle) hanging Cupid with a whip whereas Venus (the goddess of affection) crouched to the facet makes an attempt to cease Mars from his assault on the younger Cupid. The scene exhibits Mars wearing Roman garb with a hanging pink toga, Venus in a stola, and cupid bare with quiver, bow, and arrows.
Once you first have a look at this piece you might be taken by the excellent artistry of the work. The scene could be very dramatic with Mars thrusting Cupid down able to strike whereas Venus is off to the facet in shock making an attempt to forestall Mars from hanging. The colours, composition, and facial features are all very effective and reveal an attention-grabbing story. The portray was initially believed to be a Caravaggio and with good purpose for the excellent execution of chiaroscuro significantly intensifies the drama within the scene.
Upon viewing this murals one would possibly suppose that it’s typical Classical Mythology with Mars chastising cupid for his entanglement with himself and Venus. Nonetheless this isn’t the case in any respect, what now we have right here is likely one of the most intense scenes of homo-eroticism in European Artwork!
Whereas I used to be a pupil on the College of the Artwork Institute of Chicago I had the privilege to take a course of European Portray by the legendary professor Robert J. Loescher. In one in every of our walks by the galleries of the Artwork Institute professor Loescher stopped the category earlier than this well-known portray and requested us to reply to it. After we completed our responses (which have been all lacking the purpose) he then defined the murals to us.
Roman mythology is the automobile utilized by Manfredi to ship his actual message which is Homo-Erotic Sadomasochism. As a homosexual man Manfredi often expressed his sexuality in his works and that is the working example right here with Cupid Chastised. What now we have right here is Cupid depicted as a younger male (a clean hairless youth or “twink” in homosexual slang, not an harmless winged child) receiving sexual gratification from Mars’ strikes! Cupid’s ass positioned useless heart is clearly the focus of this portray as he awaits Mars’ strikes with the ropes. In case you have a look at Cupid’s wrist it’s limp (passively submitting to Mars) not clenched as it will be in a battle and whereas blind folded his mouth is open exhibiting him in a state of full ecstasy. Each male figures are good-looking, dominant, and superbly rendered. Whereas Venus, shoved off to the facet, together with her breast hanging out (a ploy to fulfill straight viewers) is moderately homely wanting, not a lot to say for the goddess of affection!
Actually this virile male to male intense sexual interplay leaves all of us to replicate on our personal sexual persona. Because the saying goes “Don’t decide a ebook by its cowl”, nevertheless, take a re-examination!
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