My experience tells me the nude figures in Jean Delville’s 1898 L’Ecole de Platon should be naked women, bathers à la Cezanne, for example. I look for breasts. I try to ignore penises. But they are all men, beautiful men. How would John have responded to this painting? What would it have been like to spend a day with him in an art museum given his sense for line and color, his experience with watercolors and pastels?
Why do I feel uncomfortable looking at beautiful men? Because of the conventions I have grown up with? Because I connect beauty with sexuality? Must I do that? I can’t imagine walking through an art museum without the tug of sex. Or through nature, for that matter. Is it an obsession? Or a common human experience?
[from Immortal for Quite Some Time, photo of BB by Sam Levin]