MADRID, June 23 (Reuters) - Spain’s Prado museum is marking the WorldPride celebrations in Madrid by creating a tour and publishing a full-colour guidebook about works in its permanent collection depicting sexual diversity from the ancient world to the 19th century.
The works on display included a 16th century marble bust believed to be of Sappho, the ancient Greek writer who wrote passionate love poems to other women, to a 17th century portrait of a bearded woman by Spanish artist Juan Sanchez.
“It isn’t erotic, that isn’t necessary. It is an historical reflection,” Carlos Navarro, one of the exhibition’s curators, told Reuters.
WorldPride, a festival promoting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, takes place every few years in a different international city. It is expected to draw up to three million visitors to Madrid between June 23 and July 2.
One of the jewels of the selection is a little-known early 19th century ink drawing by one of Spain’s most important artists, Francisco de Goya, of a grimacing man dressed in women’s clothes with his skirt hitched up and his stockings around his ankles.
The drawing bears the handwritten title “El Maricon de la Tia Gila” or “Aunt Gila’s Queer”. When Goya was not painting commissioned portraits for the royal family, he made etchings depicting ordinary people in Spanish villages in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
“Goya is not using that name in an homophobic way, he’s showing that all these people have a place in our society,” said Alvaro Perdices, another curator.
The exhibition, “The Other’s Gaze. Spaces of difference” can be seen in the Prado until Sept. 10. (Writing by Alba Asenjo; Editing by Sonya Dowsett)