Homoerotic Sadomasochistic Art #438Z or A Gay Love Story. Cupid Chastised is a Classical painting of Homoerotic, and Sadomasochistic gay art, linked to gay dad/son incest by Baroque artist Bartolomeo Manfredi. An article by artist Stephen F. Condren, SAIC, BFA, of Condren Galleries. This article is dedicated to Sir Robert Loescher.
Homoerotic Sadomasochistic Art & Incest
A Gay Love Story
Article by artist Stephen F. Condren.
The Art Institute Of Chicago
In the Galleries of the Art Institute of Chicago hangs an amazing painting by the 16th Century Italian, Baroque artist Bartolomeo Manfredi. The name of the piece is “Cupid Chastised“, painted in 1613.
This painting depicts Mars (the god of war) striking Cupid with a whip while Venus (the goddess of love) crouched to the side attempts to stop Mars from his assault on the young Cupid. The scene shows Mars dressed in Roman garb with a striking red toga, Venus in a stola, and cupid naked with quiver, bow, and arrows.
The Art Institute of Chicago thought that it was a Caravaggio when they first acquired it, but later found out that it was by one of his pupils, Bartolomeo Manfredi. When you first look at this piece you are taken by the outstanding artistry of the work. The scene is very dramatic with Mars thrusting Cupid down ready to strike while Venus is off to the side in shock trying to prevent Mars from striking. The colors, composition, and facial expression are all very fine and reveal an interesting story. The painting was originally believed to be a Caravaggio and with good reason for the superb execution of chiaroscuro greatly intensifies the drama in the scene.
Upon viewing this work of art one might think that it is typical Classical Mythology with Mars chastising cupid for his entanglement with himself and Venus. However this is not the case at all, what we have here is one of the most intense scenes of homo-eroticism in European Art!
Sir Robert Loescher
While I was a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago I had the privilege to take courses of European Painting by the legendary Professor of Art History, Sir Robert J. Loescher. Without doubt, the greatest intellect of Art History that I have ever known. He was a Senior Editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica, and the most sought after professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His teaching expertise was unmatched, his learning was incredible, and his knowledge profound. I say this with an expert voice as I am a Certified Public High School Teacher, and Administrator, with a Masters of Educational Administration, Certified Type #75, General Administration, State of Illinois. In my career, and with my Education I know the makings of an excellent teacher, and Sir Robert Loescher was the best that there could be.
In one of our walks through the galleries of the Art Institute, professor Loescher stopped the class before this famous painting and asked us to respond to it. All of us explained the work of art in terms of it’s time, and the use of Roman Mythology to express emotions, and words to that effect. All very standard, acceptable, and safe interpretations of this kind of painting. When we finished our responses (which were all missing the point) he then explained the work of art to us.
A Masquerade Revealed
Homoerotic Sadomasochistic Gay Art & Incest
Roman mythology is the vehicle used by Manfredi to deliver his real message which is Homo-Erotic Sadomasochism, topped with incest. As an openly gay man, Manfredi usually expressed his sexuality in his works and this is the case in point here with Cupid Chastised. What we have here is Cupid depicted as a young male, a smooth hairless youth or “twink” in gay slang, not an innocent winged baby, receiving sexual gratification from Mars’ strikes! Cupid’s ass located dead center of the action of the painting, and is clearly the focal point of Mar’s ambitions, as he awaits Mars’ strikes with the ropes, with anticipation. If you look at Cupid’s wrist it is limp (passively submitting to Mars) not clenched as it would be in a struggle and while blind folded (male bondage), his mouth is open ready to receive, and showing him in a state of complete ecstasy. The only thing that Cupid needs is a pillow.
- Cupid is a sexually mature youth, not a baby nymph.
- Cupid’s wrist is limp.
- Cupid’s limp wrist forms a hollow arch aligned to hold the shaft of Mars’s penis.
- Cupid’s left arm is bent, more like taking his pulse than engaged in a struggle.
- Cupid’s right hand, sneakily hidden in the shade, is gently exploring Mar’s leg.
- Cupid’s right hand is not grabbing the outside leg of Mars, as he would lying down.
- Cupid’s right hand is feeling the inside of Mars’s leg.
- Cupid’s right hand is not tearing at, or clenching to Mars’s robes in the “struggle”.
- Cupid’s left arm is under no constraint.
- Cupid’s mouth is open.
- Cupid is blindfolded. Unprecedented of in any literature.
- Cupid’s ass is the focal point of the stage action.
- Cupid is in ecstasy.
- Cupid’s ass, and legs are willingly spread open.
- Cupid is totally submissive.
- Cupid is lying on the ground.
- Cupid the slave is fully naked.
- Cupid is facing the aggressor, not turned away.
- Cupid is slender.
- Cupid is fair.
- Cupid has creamy smooth skin.
- Cupid is in full light as the erotic offering.
- Cupid is the centerpiece.
- Cupid’s body is writhing, as is natural in sexual activity.
- Cupid’s body forms a triangle pointing to Mars’s loins, and Mars’s hand is the cherry.
- Cupid is at the bottom of the painting.
- Cupid is Mars’s delight, loot, and slave.
- Cupid is the victim of Mars’s cruelty.
- Cupid is gratified by, and open to the pain of Mars’s whip.
- Cupid is not struggling.
- Cupid has yielded his bow and arrows.
- Cupid is defenseless.
- Cupid is never chastised in any literature. There is no precedent for this scene. Thus, sheer homoerotica.
- Mars is handsome.
- Mars is virile.
- Mars is muscular.
- Mars is straddling Cupid.
- Mars’s face is in the shade so as to keep all eyes on Cupid.
- Mars’s left arm forms a circle with Venus’s left arm to form a circle dead center on Mars’s loins.
- Mars’s highlighted left arms is the visual support for his penis.
- Mars’s left hand is red, filled with blood, a phallic symbol of an erect penis ready to penetrate.
- Mars’s left hand, and arm are the most carefully delineated elements of the painting.
- Mars’s left hand holding the limp wrist of Cupid is at the center of the painting, and his loins.
- Mars is holding a limp arm of Cupid, for it is not pulled up, or securing the weight of Cupid.
- Mars’s left hand shows the of stroking Cupid’s phallic arm, as there is no twisted, or pinched skin.
- Mars’s index finger, and center fingers, do not even touch the skin of Cupid’s arm.
- Mars is strong.
- Mars is the Dominator, and Master.
- Mars the Master (like a pimp) is fully clothed.
- Mars is the only figure fully clothed, as even Venus is showing her tit.
- Mars achieves gratification with the hurling of his whip.
- Mars is cruel.
- Mars is sexually fit.
- Mars is highly focused.
- Mars is in the shade, so as to keep all eyes on Cupid.
- Venus is homely.
- Venus’s face is in the shade, so as to keep all eyes on Cupid.
The center line of the stage action is directly down the center of the painting, commencing with Mars’s rugged, and masculine hand holding the whip, down to the creamy white ass (semen, any student of Freud would have a heyday with this, I know as German Scholar, for I have read all of his works in German) of the pubescent, mature, Cupid. This is no baby nymph. Notice the fine delineation of his legs, and thighs, and the beautiful detailing of his hand and foot.
If you look carefully at the painting, you can see that Mars does not have a firm grip on Cupid at all. In fact, if you did not know the full image of the scene, you would think that Cupid is getting a massage! Everything about this image is soothing, and relaxing as Mars gently strokes, with oil, the tender arm of Cupid.
None of the fingers are extended enough to even have a hold on Cupid’s wrist. The hand only has enough support from the thumb, unseen below, to secure the arm. This clearly is a scene of applying ointment, or lube to the tender young Cupid. The yellow line is clear proof that Mars does not have a firm grasp on Cupid’s arm. The index, and center fingers do not even touch Cupid’s skin! Any current computerized 3D modeling graphics software analysis of this image would prove my case with ease.
Therefore, the most important, and key element in the paintings fails, hands down, to demonstrate any kind of struggle, or conflict with Mars, and Cupid. From the image below, you have an erotic male to male sexual arousal, hastened by a massage, on the part of Mars to his loot, and Cupid is soaking it in! Manfredi knows this, and brilliantly utilized, with great stealth, the tools of perspective, and chiaroscuro, to camouflaged the lube job that Mars was giving to the Phallic arm of Cupid.
I am an artist, a master of drawing, painting, and perspective, and I see exactly what Manfredi has most successfully achieved here. Like all Sadomasochistic encounters, the “pain”, and “conflict” is all contrived to evoke sexual arousal, and the scene here is just that. With all the flesh, and red robes, in the image below, it could easily be used by any manufacturer of sex-lube, as an effective advertising campaign to mass-merchandise their product. Quite frankly, it looks like Mars is gently guiding Cupid’s hand right into his groin, while he lubes, and strokes Cupid’s arm. In anticipation, Cupid’s curved hand is preparing to receive Mars’s manly shaft. No struggle here, case closed.
Soldiers Mocking Of Jesus By Edouard Manet
Just like the hands of Jesus in the failed painting “Soldiers Mocking Of Jesus By” by Edouard Manet, like the rest of the painting, the hands just do not work. I swear that this painting looks like a cut between scenes of yet another “Life of Jesus” movie, with weary, and tired members of the Screen Actors Guild on break, for Jesus is bored out of His mind. Come to think of it, “bored” is gay slang used by gay men on the prowl for sex, or frotting, in spots like Boystown, in Chicago, or at a bathhouse, like Steamworks, or a gay bar, looking to “Hookup“, perhaps I have hit on something here?
I have always been aware that Mars’s hand just seemed to rest on the arm of Cupid, and formed a ruddy block, which just didn’t look quite right. It is all of the commotion, and drama that is unfolding in and around the scene, that foists the image in your head, of Mars grasping firmly, when in fact, as just proven, he is not.
Further, if Mars were truly grabbing Cupid as the painting wants the naïve viewer to believe, then you would not see his fingers at all, for they would be firmly fixed under the wrist of Cupid, securing him harshly. However, that is not the case here, for all of the fingers are arched outwardly, a clear sign of a soft, guiding touch, and not a thrusting grip. Even with the image of Jesus below, you only see the top section of His fingers, whereas Mars exposes the entire arched array of fingers.
Cupid Chastised is about sensuality, and gentleness, hidden under the mask of violence, to keep and capture the image of the boy that Manfredi loved so much for posterity. There is only love, and gentleness in these pair of hands, and between these two men. Theses are the hands of Bartolomeo, and his lover, and he did not want anyone ever to know it. By most cleverly putting in the very center of the scene, these loving hands, and Manfredi did not think that anyone would ever figure it out, however, I have done so, after over 400 years.
The secret lies in the gentle rendering of the hands, which is the real masquerade, and everything else falls into place. The best place to commit a crime is at the Police Station, and in the eye of this vast stormy world of a Roman drama, (a red herring), lays the quite, gentle hands of Bartolomeo, and his lover. The ruddy hand of Mars, tenderly holds the hand of Cupid right in the center of all the action, the eye of the hurricane, if you will. With all the tumult of the action in this scene, in reality it is very calm. There is no blood, torn flesh, and the like, for that would be missing the point, which is gay love, and Eros. Nothing ever happens, because it is all in the world of fiction. Everything is laid out as it is “supposed to happen” but it never does, and Manfredi knows this. I am almost tempted to say that this painting is Existential, or Post Structuralist, but it is not. The one thing that does happen, and that is made manifest in the painting, is the loving bond between Manfredi, and his lover shown in their hands. Do not be fooled, Manfredi, and his model were “naughty”, and kinky, for this is their arena, not ours, and so be it. Were they into BDSM, and Roleplay? Looking at this painting it seems more than likely, but who knows? Honestly, isn’t it “fun” to get away with being naughty? When you are in love, you can do anything!
Always remember Shakespeare’s famous phrase from Hamlet, “The Lady doth protest too much, me thinks“, when you see something that is too apparent. For the storyline of the painting is too slick, too obvious, and it just works too well. However, it does not work, because it is all wrong, because it is not a story of Cupid being chastised by Mars.
However, upon a closer examination of the work, you should ask, why this scene? For there is no such struggle in mythology with Cupid, and Mars. Further, Cupid’s ass is far too salient, and “overdrives” the point to exaggeration. Why is Venus even there? Also, both Mars, and Venus are fully clothed, and not in their bed chamber. The next pressing question is why the chariot? The presence of Cupid always entails sexual encounter, not dashing in a chariot like Ben Hur, sporting all vanity. Why is Mars’s helmet on the ground as cupid is not in any position to pull it off of Mars’s head! Why is it so dark in the background? Why no exposed chest, or genitalia on Mars, this most imposing, and virile figure? With Cupid around one would expect more nudity.
Most puzzling of all is why the pair of doves? At least the helmet, quiver, bow, and arrows make sense in the scene, but the doves make no sense whatsoever. Animals always are there to signify meaning, especially doves. For there are lion heads on the boots of Mars, which represent ferocity, so they make sense, but why a pair of doves amidst all of this violence? Artist’s of mythology never place images of animals, especially living ones, out in the open to be a secret. Quite on the contrary, they are all about it, for these images are imbued with symbolism, and meaning.
Like the story of Jesus, the storyline is too slick, and we need to get past the masquerade of the Gospels to get to the real meaning of the Jesus story. Therefore, the only way to get to the real meaning of Cupid Chastised is by doing tedious research on the details, because the devil is in the details. Take these details, and build a case, for cases are theories, and theories are Science, for they are fact based, and then demonstrate with authority your interpretation, as I have done here. Just as Albert Schweitzer, and Rudolph Bultmann figured out the meaning of the story of Jesus from the myth of the Gospels through the use of the Historical Critical Method, so too here, with critical analysis of the painting. Like the bleaching out of the myths of the Historical Jesus, we can now put in the Clorox to demythologize Cupid Chastised.
The repose of Cupid recalls clearly the Grande Odalisque by Jean Auguste Ingres, the only things missing are the Peacock feathers, turban, and Chaise Lounge! Notice how the right foot of Mars aligns with the right foot of Cupid. Both male figures are handsome, dominant, and beautifully rendered. Whereas Venus, shoved off to the side, clearly out of the stage action, with her breast hanging out (a ploy to satisfy straight viewers) is rather homely looking, not much to say for the goddess of love! Her task is purely architectural, as she is the “Flying Buttress” holding up the central figure, the cathedral (Mars).
All focus of attention is on Cupid’s creaming white ass, or “Bubble Butt“, from the eyes of Mars on the top, to the wings on Cupid’s back down below, curled pointing right to it. Cupid’s large wings are not serving any function to cover his ass in all modesty, or to offer protection from Mars’s strike. No, Cupid’s ass is open, and ready, just yearning for the blow.
Cupid’s Right Arm & Hand
The right arm and hand of Cupid is in shadow, and rendered incorrectly. Most likely the work of one of his apprentices. This is because the foreshortening of the arm is incurrent, and the upper arm should hardly be seen, if at all. However, Cupid’s roaming hand clearly makes the point, and offers tantalizing erotic fantasy while touching Mars.
I say that the rendering of the back of Cupid’s shoulders should align with the yellow line, thus behind Cupid’s head. Whereas Manfredi has rendered the back of his shoulders along the base of the blue curve. However, I have placed a green line along the spline of Cupid’s back, which does not pivot correctly with the blue line, thus making the blue curve incorrect, making the rendering of the right shoulder, and arm incorrect as well. 3D modeling graphics would shed clearer light on this. It is difficult to get an accurate reading of the image, since it is in the shade, in the back, and on a contorted physique.
Draw It Wrong
I think that in all honesty, Manfredi was aware of this but had to “draw it wrong” to make it look right. I have taught this for years to my students. For that can be the case, when a rendering is drafted correctly, yet when you stand back and look at it, it may look too long, short, or eschew. You do not want your clients to look at your work and say that it looks wrong, and this does happen. In those cases I adjust the lines and “fix” the problem, and it works. The same holds true here, with Manfredi.
At the very top of the painting, and the stage action, is the all inspiring rope. The loop, at top center, is clearly vaginal, demanding male penetration. The undulation, and fluidity of the rope is all about semen, and in the center of the rope is the vagina, or Cupid’s ass in this case. This pulsing movement of the rope is the echo of sexual intercourse, and masturbation. Penetration is the point of the rope’s imagery.
The Helmet of Mars, at the bottom left, is the visual support for Cupid’s ass, in much the same manner as the wheel of the chariot is the visual support of the central figure (Mars). Notice that the visors of the helmet form a point that is aimed straight at Cupid’s ass, denoting immanent penetration. The helmet is a phallic symbol of Mars’s penis that is not shown, and is painted in black, to compliment his armor, providing the viewer an image of the deepest, and strongest penetration. On the ground, trampled under the helmet, are the cap of the quiver, and a piece of the blue virgin sash torn in the struggle, that have been conquered by the power of the large black helmet (penis). Like the rope above, the tassels of the quiver’s cap represent semen. All of these side elements were done by apprentices.
Quiver, bow & Arrows
What more can be said? There is absolutely nothing that is heterosexual about this painting, it is all thoroughly homosexual, and imbued with gay incest. The arrows are of course penetrating the quiver (anal, and oral intercourse), which are clearly leading to his mouth (fellatio). Oral fixations are essential in all good erotica, and that is the case here, with Cupid’s open lips waiting to be used. It is very important to take notice of the broken bow, for that symbolizes the loss of virginity (anal), as Mars penetrates his son. At least he is not eating him like Saturn! This is Gay incest at it’s best.
The color red, which represents war, blood, and sex, is the dominant tone. Red is the color of Mars’s robes, which tower over Cupid in his erotic conquest. Of course red is infused in the flesh, and earthen tones throughout the painting, showing it’s command.
The most interesting color to me is the very light blue sash, which represents the blue of the Blessed Mother, stemming from the pagan Vestals, and a virgin of the highest rank. So we have laying here before us a young, gay, virgin ass, and mouth, ready for conquest.
The tone of white is at it’s brightest is near the top of Cupid’s wing, and his blindfold, which of course, represents purity, and virginity. Notice that the whitest part of Cupid’s wing forms a loop with the blue sash, exposing the virgin boy. This is complimented by the white blindfold over Cupid’s eyes, further driving home his state of innocence, the hand maiden of virginity. The virgin white blindfold adds an exciting element of weakness, and helplessness that sadists’ thrive on. The white blindfold also designates a halo, further adding to Cupid’s state of purity, for he is the “victim” and not able to ward off the hands of the all powerful mars. After all when you are dealing with war there are no limits (despite the Geneva Convention), and Mars is the god of war.
Only Venus, a dull, and frumpy figure, is wearing the muted tones of grey, for she has nothing to offer sexually to the scene. Even her exposed tit, which is small, and tucked in, supported by the “bra” of her cloak is lame. Venus is of such a low rank in this scene, that her arms, and hands were not even rendered by Manfredi, but rather by his apprentices. Only her face, not even her hair, is the only thing done by the hand of Manfredi. This is clear to see by the lack of effective brush work, and the poor use of color by the students. Manfredi knew exactly how to mix his flesh tone colors. Just compare the knee of Mars with that of Venus, and it will jump out at you, and grab you by the throat!
The strongest tone, and the symbol of complete penetration, is the dominant force in the painting, because everything rests on it. Like black India ink, black is all pervasive, and has to be handled with stealth or it will swallow up the drawing or painting. Without black, white is helpless.
It is the male in all species that is the fair and beautiful, not the female. For female beauty is a myth, and a fabrication, a red Herring, to cover up the angst that men carry while looking at other males with admiration, and even jealousy. As I have always said “From the fish in the sea, to the birds in the air, it is Nature’s decree that the male is most fair.”
Architecture Of The Human Male
The architecture of the human male is the greatest structural achievement in all creation. For the beauty of the male all lays in his exquisite architectural framework, that is to beheld in wonder. Beauty demands structure, and there is no greater structure than that of the human male. This is why you never draw or design genitalia into architecture for they possess no structure, and need to be put aside, like Venus. The beauty of architecture, like the beauty of the male, lies in it’s structure, and design.
Nothing looks, or is more stupid than a penis for a chimney, testicles for landscape, and a vagina for an entry. Freud is wrong, skyscrapers have nothing at all to do with phallic symbols, but rather with elevation. I am a Certified Teacher of Architecture, and taught Engineering Graphics & Architectural Rendering at the College of Lake County, IL, so I know and understand structural design. A penis has no structure, rather it has a form that varies upon it’s use, do not confuse the two.
You cannot recognize anyone from looking at their penis, testicles, or vagina! The more structure, then the more detail, and more data for recognition. For skyscrapers have glory, stature, and structure, and are recognizable to anyone, whereas the penis has none of this. Even when the penis is erect, it has no structure, and offers no elevation, for it is used as a vehicle for projectiles, a cannon. The penis has no bones, or ligaments that give it design, or any kind of structure, rather, as an organ, it works like a balloon, and inflates on demand. Now, show me a face, and chest, and I will show you structure!
Kings & Castles
This is why kings build castles, and Pope’s build churches, for subliminally it is all about the glory of the beauty of the human male, and his dominion made manifest through sex. Thus the architecture of our dwellings reflect this great beauty, as can by seen in my famous Architectural Rendering of the Loeb Mansion, now hanging in the permanent collection of the Chicago History Museum.
The painting is, of course, garbed in Roman Mythology to safely mask the true meaning of the work of art from the Church, and Local Authorities of that time (see my article on the Zombie of Easter Sunday). After all who needs the likes of the McCarthy Era breathing down your back. It is wise to take the advise of Livia Drusilla, from Robert Grave’s , I Claudius “Play the Part of the fool, and you will endure.” So, to keep things clean, safe, and in line with mythical “Family values” we have to take the lead of Sargent Schultz and exclaim “I know nothing, nothing“. Cupid is most probably Manfredi’s gay pupil, and lover (Manfredi was openly Gay) and his bed the prop for his recline. Truly this virile male-to-male intense sexual interaction leaves all of us to reflect on our own sexual persona. As the saying goes “Do not judge a book by its cover”, however, take a second look!
Rendering Of The Stage Action
Mars (husband) has clearly dumped Venus (wife), with whom he is long bored of, and pushes her to the side. Now, with the fully mature Cupid (son), offering him full male beauty, and sexual delight, is an irresistible temptation. Mars now has his sexual ambitions all over him. The naivety, and innocents are added attractions that make Mars more ambitious for conquest, and satisfaction of his sexual desires. Mounting his own son in male bondage is the epitome of sexual thrill, and the right of access, as now Cupid is his personal property, being the loot of war. Mars, the god of war will have it, and takes pride of ownership. The use of gay incest is a brilliant moved on the part of Manfredi, because he can use this as a point of needed redemption from the paganism of the Romans by the salvation offered by Jesus Christ, and more importantly, the powerful, and politically potent Roman Catholic Church.
Below is my pencil delineation of the stage action for Cupid Chastised. The rendering nicely shows the line of action, having removed Venus (thank you), and the other objects that surround the scene. Now we have a clear view of the stage action, showing what has happened, and what is going to happen. It should be noted for the record, that Cupid is the son of Venus and Mars! With that knowledge, just think of the taboo Freudian dynamics of incest at work here. Incest is strictly forbidden, and we will not have any of that, but rather we will run to the mythological Holy Family for safety, and comfort, as a fitting model to accommodate our angst, and our self-denial. See Michel Foucault, “The History Of Sexuality“, as a study for Homoerotic Sadomasochistic Gay Art.
Water & Sex
The water like flow of the whip is clearly sex, for water is sex and semen, especially in dreams. All that I can hear is the music of the Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde by Wagner, with it’s sexual climax. Thus, sex is held aloft in triumph in this work of art, and runs right down the center, through Mar’s mighty hand. Then it continues, as the it flows on to the semen infused gay ass of Cupid. For cream is semen, and there is no creamier ass around than Cupid’s.
Mars’s mighty legs loom over Cupid like the Eiffel Tower, straddled, perfectly arched, and in control, up and ready to mount his conquest. Gay incest, and sex are clearly the themes of the painting made manifest by the actions of both Mars and Cupid, Venus is only an impediment. What more can be said?
Manfredi is very wise not to show any genitalia, for that would spoil everything. Genitalia should not be seen for they offer no structure, therefore not to be seen, thus flaccid, for beauty only comes with structure, an architecture, if you will. For like Rebecca, the main character remains unseen. Everything in this painting is symbolic, and it is done for those who have eyes to see it. Taking Venus out of the scene, and removing all the incidentals, gives balance and integrity to the composition of the painting. Now it is easier to understand, just look at the semen flow!
Renderings Of Cupid Chastised
Pen & Ink Drawing Of Cupid Chastised
Venus Removed From The Action Of The Drama
Structure Of The Painting
Cupid Chastised Superimposed Over The Eiffel Tower
Below is my rendering of Cupid Chastised superimposed over the Eiffel Tower, showing the pyramidal structural element to the composition of the painting. Thus revealing the fortitude and stature of Mars in juxtaposition to a dominating tower of strength, and dominating his prey.
Sir Robert Loescher
These notes are mine, and not those of Sir Robert Loescher. What he did say is summed up in my first paragraph on the topic. Though Sir Robert did deliver the general message about Cupid’s ass, the mature youth, and the limp hand, and open mouth, not much more was said. The reference to Cupid needing a pillow is mine. He was not aware of the love between Manfredi, and his model. Sir Robert was an exceedingly wise, and prudent man. To say that all that I have written here to a company of both young men, and women in the 1970’s would have been foolhardy. However, from that day on I have never forgotten that lecture, and I have never looked at that painting in the same way. The bulk of what is written here are my observations, and I will leave it at that.
Meaning Of Cupid Chastised
The real meaning behind the painting of Cupid Chastised is not about Mars showering anger upon Cupid, nor is it about Sadomasochistic incest. The mask of Mars was needed to secured the commission for the painting, and the mask of Sadomasochism was needed to add excitement to the painting, and more importantly, to hide the tender love that Manfredi had for his model, that he has immortalized in this brilliant work of art. Mars’s face bent down, and in shadow, and Cupid’s blindfold are to hide their identity, while Venus, nobody cares about. Sex gives power, thrill, and interest to great works of Art, and Literature, and after all, both Manfredi, and his lover were “naughty”.
Had Manfredi not added the above elements to the painting, it most probably would not have been commissioned, and we today would not behold this work of love, and genius, and the doves would not be in flight. For I am convinced that the handsome commission secured by this painting gave Manfredi the financial freedom that he needed. All other works in the Art Institute of Chicago pale against it. Mars is most probably Manfredi, who was known to be a dashing, and handsome man, while Cupid is of course, Manfredi’s lover, two beautiful men that found each other. This gives the answer to the question as to why the two doves are there, for they are the “holy spirit” of Manfredi, and his lover, taking off in flight together, happy, and now free.
Humbly submitted, and with all honor to Sir Robert Loescher.
Stephen F. Condren
10/13/2019, 8:00 PM
Alt Image Tag
Homoerotic Sadomasochistic Gay Art & gay incest. Cupid Chastised by Bartolomeo Manfredi. A Gay love story #438Z.