Silas Brunner

Major: Art History
Herron School of Art and Design

Queerness and Sexuality in Medieval European Art

In Medieval European art, several depictions of queerness and sexuality can be seen. By studying these works, one is able to understand the societal messages being portrayed and how the general populace viewed these subjects. With the assistance of literary sources discussing queerness and Medieval European art, it is possible to view works such as Petrus Christus’s A Goldsmith in his Shop and the illumination of canto 15 of Dante’s Inferno and understand the meaning intended. Whether this is a commentary on the dangers of seeing what was deemed a perversion of nature, displaying an example of how couples and relationships should look, or presenting the consequences of disobeying God, all of these works provide a glimpse into Medieval European society. By studying these works, one is able to understand how queerness and sexuality were viewed in Medieval Europe, how artworks affected or reinforced these views, and how current views on these topics compare.