Thursday, 12 March 2015

Brian Sewell: The Naked Truth

We cannot fathom Ancient Greek art unless we know something of Ancient Greek sexuality. We know (or used to know) that their gods were bisexual, that Zeus, greatest of the Olympian gods, was as much a man for boys as girls, and what was good for him was jusitification enough for ordinary mortals. We even know the rules of custom and decorum that governed the sexual-cum-emotional relationships of boys with men, the boy conventionally assumed to be intercrurally or anally receptive to the older man but discreetly so. As an example of the required discretion, when Periander, tyrant of Corinth six centuries BC, asked his boy lover publicly “Are you not pregnant yet?” the boy, outraged by so open an enquiry, stabbed his lover to death and in so doing re-established his honour. This, of course, was not the kind of thing that every schoolboy knew a hundred years ago and J C Stobert makes no mention of it...

Brian Sewell drools over the British Museum's exhibition, Defining Beauty: The Body In Ancient Greek Art. Thanks to TO. x

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