Secrets of the Met, Hanging in Plain Sight


The following comes from Andrew Lear, an art historian and founder of Oscar Wilde Tours, which will be offering gay tours of New York, including the Met, starting this spring, as well as a gay history tour of Italy next October. For more information, visit

AS AN ART HISTORIAN who works on homoerotica, sometimes I meander around museums, looking for homoerotic works that scholarship has overlooked. I usually spend most of my time in the ancient Greek and Roman galleries, since that is my specialty. But sometimes I wander off. l look for male-male couplings in Indian temple carvings or pictures of actor-prostitutes in 17th-century Japanese teahouses. One of the best places to hunt is the Renaissance galleries, where artists like Donatello and Michelangelo made versions of Classical nudes that expressed their homosexual desires—and their vision of homosexual attractiveness.

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Andrew Lear, PhD, is a classical historian who has taught art history and Classics at Harvard, Columbia, and NYU. He is the founder of Oscar Wilde Tours (


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