Winckelmann: Classical Art, Sexual Freedom, and the Prehistory of Gay Identity

Robert Tobin, an eminent Germanist and queer scholar, will discuss Winckelmann's theories on art and aesthetics. Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717-1768) rose from poverty in northern Germany to a resplendent life in Rome, to beome a major art historian of his time. His open courtship of other men as well as his sensational murder made his lifestyle a model for educated men who were sexually attracted to other men, much like Oscar Wilde a century later. These same erotic instincts were behind a willingness to challenge establish morality and imbue the human body with a nobility that paved the way for the emerging conception of the rights of man. 

Professor Tobin, a premier scholar of the history of sexual ideas, has authored books on the Age of Goethe, German colonialism, race and sexual identities, and Eurovision. Tobin is the Henry J Leir Chair in Language, Literature and Culture at Clark University.

Wednesday, February 21 at 4:15pm to 5:15pm

Hollander Hall, 241