Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Merry-Joseph Blondel

Merry-Joseph Blondel (1771-1853) was a successful French neoclassical painter in the tradition of David. He won the Prix de Rome in 1803 for his painting of Aeneas and Anchises. He also obtained a gold medal in the Salon of 1817 for his painting, The Death of Louis XII, which is in the Augustins Museum in Toulouse. As a mature artist he worked as a decorative painter and is responsible for walls and ceilings in the Galerie de Diane at Fontainebleau (1822-1828), the Palais de la Bourse and the vestibule to the Galerie d’Apollon, best known, The Fall of Icarus (1819).

The painting shown above, The Death of Hyacinthus, while homoerotic, was painted solely with the intent to illustrate the ancient Greek mythological tale in which Hyacinthus, the youthful lover of Apollo is accidentally killed by his mentor, as the two played quoits. As such, the painting illustrates a historical reality in which the subject of homosexuality was simply part of a classical oeuvre that artists of neoclassical persuasion in the mid 19th century explored in their fascination with antiquity. In fact, the word “homosexual” did not come into existence until after Blondel’s death. * In the 21st century, the subject is of course; politically incorrect at the least since the love for a youth by an older man (God or not) is pejoratively pederasty.

Above all, this painting is a work of art. Thus, if anyone happening upon this journal by accident or purposeful intent is offended whether by the visual impact and/or subject matter, please refrain from placing your own prejudice on my intent.

* Karl Maia Kertbenny (1869) intended his classification system of sexual types to replace in part the pejorative term “pederast.” These types were in part; homosexual, heterosexual, monosexualists, and pygists.

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