Role models of greatness.

Here you will discover the back stories of kings, titans of industry, stellar athletes, giants of the entertainment field, scientists, politicians, artists and heroes – all of them gay or bisexual men. If their lives can serve as role models to young men who have been bullied or taught to think less of themselves for their sexual orientation, all the better. The sexual orientation of those featured here did not stand in the way of their achievements.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Knut Magnus Enckell

Finnish painter and designer Magnus Enckell (1870-1925) was a gay male whose works reveal strong homoerotic overtones. In an original mixture of classical mythology and modern avant-garde, Enckell's paintings of naked boys and men are openly erotic and sensual. The masculine nakedness in his paintings is never innocent, and the poses are quite uninhibited for the time period. Nonetheless, his figures combine sensuality with a certain spirituality.

Painting at left: Narcissus 1897









Enckell’s 1907 fresco above the altar in the Tampere cathedral portrays the Resurrection – among the figures of souls rising at the call of Christ are two men walking hand in hand (Enckell was himself the son of a vicar).

After his formal painting instruction in Helsinki, Enckell studied in Paris for three years in the last years of the nineteenth century. He went on to become the leading figure of the generation of Finnish Symbolist artists of the early twentieth century, a movement that rejected Realism.

When he died in Stockholm at the age of 55, his funeral was a national event; his body was interred in his home town of Hamina, in eastern Finland.

Icarus
1923

Golden Age
1904

Man with a Swan
1918

Faun
1914

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