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Jean Delville, L’école de Platon, 1898
Napoleon Sarony,  portrait d’Eugen Sandow, 1896
Edward Burne-Jones, Saint Marc l’évangéliste,1883
William Bouguereau  L’amour mouillé, 1891
Napoleon Sarony,  portrait d’Eugen Sandow 1896
Edward Burne-Jones, Phyllis et Demophoön, 1870
L’éphèbe de Sarrebruck
Wilhelm von Gloeden, Scènes antiques, ca. 1900
Gabriel Dante Rossetti Rêverie, 1880

Sexual Anarchy in the Fin de Siècle, 2

Icons of Masculinity

Simeon Solomon, Bacchus, 186
Aubrey Beardsley J’ai baisé ta bouche 1894

The modern man dresses in black, leaving to the woman the artifice of beautiful clothes. The degree to which a civilisation has evolved is measured, say the scientists, by the ability of the sexes to distinguish themselves. In this context, how can we explain the craze for an androgynous aesthetic?


Homosexuality was feared; it was said to be a form of psychic degeneration that governments were quick to equate with criminal behaviour.


Yet this was an era that celebrated male sexual ambiguity as much as it condemned it; fin-de-siècle painting lent itself to the game of hypocritical confusion.


We will look at some of the great androgynous figures of the period, including the paintings of Simeon Solomon and the illustrations for the libretto of Oscar Wilde's Salome by the brilliant Aubrey Beardsley.

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