This is the third installation published on ReNude Pride in honor of October as GLBTQ History Month not only in the USA but also in Australia and Canada. The theme for this week’s featured series is Gay Photographer, Gay Models. This post offers a departure from the earlier postings in this series as both the photographer and his subjects were gay at a time when simply acknowledging being same gender loving was illegal throughout the world. The were no “safe havens” from the law or prosecution.
Wilhelm von Gloeden (1856 – 1931) is the photographer for all the images contained below. He was born in Germany and settled in Taormina, Sicily, Italy, due to tuberculosis. Trained as an artist, he was given a camera by a friend which he used to create the photos constituting this series. While living there, he took Pancrazio Biciuni, (sometimes referred to as Il Moro), a youth of 14 years, as his lover and they remained together until his death. Von Gloeden, (pictured left), willed his collection of photos and negatives to Biciuni upon his death. Patrons of his works included Oscar Wilde and Albert Freidrich Krupp. Under Benito Mussolini, his was tried for harboring pornography but acquitted by the court in Milan.
One of the earliest of von Gloeden’s surviving photographs he entitled “The Three Graces.” The image above dates 1893. The adolescents were acquaintances of the photographer’s lover. Their nude familiarity and comfort, as well as their relationship with Biciuni, leads us to believe them being either bisexual or gay themselves.
The two teenagers pictured above are posed in Greco-Roman style for this crafted photo. The one of the right is Pasquale Stracuzzi, the first Sicilian lover of von Gloeden who later introduced him to Pancrazio Biciuni. Stracuzzi appears in numerous works by the photographer and is also known as Il Grande Fauno (The Great Faun). The model on the left is unknown. This picture is dated 1895.
The above picture was posed by the teens in the garden of von Gloeden’s villa in Taormina, Sicily. The sexuality of the above youth is unknown but they are clearly comfortable being bare and in close proximity. Their identities are unknown. This photograph is dated 1895.
The man pictured above appears to be in his later teen years or his early twenties, based on his physical development. Both his identity and his sexual orientation are unknown. This was taken in Sicily in 1895 at an unknown location.
Pasquale Stracuzzi (Il Grand Fauno) is again on the right in the above photograph along with the adolescent featured in von Gloeden’s first image of this post. This location was in the countryside of Taormina, Sicily. The date of this photograph is 1895.
Another Sicilian youth von Gloeden posed in the garden of his villa in Sicily in 1895. This one seems to be slightly more mature than other youth von Gloeden used as models for his photographs. His sexuality is unknown but we do know from surviving diaries that the photographer, along with Biciuni, frequently engaged in bedding some of his models.
This pictures features von Gloeden’s first Sicilian lover, Pasquale Stracuzzi, Il Grande Fauno, proudly stretched out on the rock in the countryside surrounding his villa. Pasquale is obviously displaying a bit of bare GLBTQ pride here! Good for him! This photo is also dated 1895.
Bonus Antique Photograph:
This popular photograph captures gay Danish artist Ainor Bagner, (himself completely bare) painting his likewise bare subject who is reading a book. Bagner was known to be gay and we are uncertain of the sexuality of his model. We have to wonder if the photographer was also nude and about his sexuality. Of course, there is no law requiring the artist and/or photographer to be clothes free if the subjects of their work are bare.
In the lower right-hand corner of the above picture we see the year, 1910. This picture was made on the North Sea coast of Denmark.
As we are observing GLBTQ History Month in the USA as well as in Canada and Australia during October, and Bare GLBTQ Histoy Month here on ReNude Pride, I felt it important to feature the works of same gender loving (gay) artists and photographers as well as some of their subjects who were the same.
Happy Bare GLBTQ History Month!