Gloria Brame, Ph.D.

Beautiful Cytherea: Classic lesbian art

Filed By Gloria Brame, Ph.D. | June 16, 2010 1:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Gay Icons and History, Living
Tags: Aphrodite, Greek mythology, lesbian art, lesbians in Greek mythology, Victorian engraving

Found this lovely Victorian engraving of a Greek myth, depicting the goddess "Cythere" (in French) embracing a girl. According to Wiki, "the goddess Aphrodite was said to have been born from the sea, from which she emerged on a sea shell at the island of Cythera, and as such was sometimes known as Cytherea."

bilcythere.jpg

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I'm trying to figure out who the other girl might be... if indeed it is a girl (You know those Victorian engravers!). There's not much in the Aphrodite story to suggest an answer, which is kinda odd for the artist in question, since most in that period had clues and backstories all over the map when it came to stuff like this. However, one thing I *can* tell you for certain is that the engraver's signature is the same as one used extensively by Doré.

Oh, and little trivia piece: Aphrodite was born when Cronos, the father of the gods, cut off Uranus' genitalia and threw it in the ocean: from that Bobbett-esque gesture, Aphrodite was born. Those Greeks, always a madcap bunch.

I wonder which is the goddess and which is the girl? They both look like Goddesses to me. :)

Probably the one on the left. Aphrodite was always so much of a femme, and the one on the right is in what would have been considered hunting gear, much like Pallas Athena would have worn.