Male/Male Art History

Male/Male Art History

2400 BCE – Present time

Did you know that Male/Male art is not a new thing?

Art depicting love/lust between men has been around since about 2400 BCE (as far as we know). Paintings, drawings, sculptures, dishes, etc. that depict gay love have been found all over the world. You are about to see many pieces from many places and times.

First Known Male/Male Art Piece

Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum

Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum were ancient Egyptian royal servants. They shared the title of Overseer of the Manicurists in the Palace of King Niuserre during the Fifth Dynasty of Egyptian pharaohs, c. 2400 BCE, and are listed as “royal confidants” in their joint tomb.


Roman/Greek Art

The Warren Cup 

 Two men have sex while a man watches.

Silver cup, 30 BCE – 20 CE. Found in Asia Minor.

Originally in the collection of E.P. Warren.

Currently at British Museum, London.


Satyr and Youth making love

“Satyr and Nymph”

1st c. BCE tondo of bronze lebes 

(large ritual basin) from 
Pompeii Archaeological Museum, 

Tomb of the Diver symposium: North Wall  

Detail of men drinking, from a tomb painting from Paestum.

 Among the thousands of Greek tombs known from this time (roughly 700–400 BC),

this is the only one to have been decorated with frescoes of human subjects.”

Cupid Interceding with Zeus for Psyche

Raphael Sanzio

Cupid Interceding with Zeus for Psyche
from Psyche’s Loggia Fresco.

Villa Farnesina alla Lungara, Rome.

Zeus and Ganymede Art 

The story of Zeus and Ganymede

One day, looking down from his throne on Mount Olympus, Zeus spied Ganymede up in the meadows of Mount Ida, chilling with his friends under the watchful gaze of his aged tutors. Instantly, the King of Heaven flamed with love for the young Trojan’s thighs. Zeus shook himself once and turned into a powerful eagle. Straightaway he swooped down upon the world of men. Casting shafts of lightning every which way, he whipped up a fierce tempest turning day into night. Under cover of the storm the majestic eagle pounced and tenderly seized the boy in his talons. The aged guardians reached out to stop him, the hounds barked madly. Paying them no heed, the god and the boy rose up higher and higher and vanished into the blue.

In the blink of an eye the two arrived in Olympus. The eagle folded his wings, shook himself once and turned back into a god. He took Ganymede to bed and then appointed him cup bearer. But to make room for him, Zeus had to chase away Hebe, Hera’s daughter and his, who served the drinks at the divine feasts. Clumsy, he called her, claiming she once stumbled. Hera saw it all and went insane with rage and jealousy.

All the other gods rejoiced to have Ganymede among them, for his beauty filled them with delight. And Ganymede thought pouring nectar to the immortals was mad cool, and when he filled his lover’s cup he made sure to press his lips to it first, giving it half a twist as he placed it in Zeus’ hand.

Back on Earth, Tros’ heart was filled with cruel sorrow, not knowing where the divine tempest had taken his son. He cried endless tears. Even Zeus was moved by his pain. He sent down Hermes as messenger, who let Tros know his boy was now among the gods, immortal and forever young. Zeus gave Tros in exchange for his son a pair of white prancing mares, deathless and able to walk on water, the very same that carry the immortals. Tros’ heart was filled with joy and he drove his new horses as fast as the wind.

Hera, besides herself, vented her rage by destroying the Trojans. But Zeus, grateful for Ganymede’s love, made a place for him among the stars as Aquarius – the Water Bearer. There he still stands, smiling, pouring nectar and shielded to this day by the wing of the Eagle constellation. Information from



More coming soon. 

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