Naturalism, labour and homoerotic desire
Henry Scott Tuke
in British queer history
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Henry Scott Tuke's career as an artist was deeply committed to the visual proliferation of youths, clad or unclad. The homoeroticism of Henry Scott Tuke's naturalism can be understood as part of his effort to contemporise what was considered to be a lost Hellenic tradition of 'man-manly love'. Paintings of fishermen and other workers were central to Tuke's efforts to bring Greek homoeroticism to his modern time. Tuke's yearning injects a subtle form of homoerotic fantasy into what is apparently a dramatic narrative of working-class men in a storm. Violating the picture plane, Tuke challenges the boundary of the pictorial illusion separated from the viewer's reality. Tuke's naturalistic portrayal of Cornish working-class lads and their lives, with its 'sexless' 'view of labour', is animated by this complex homoerotic desire.

British queer history

New approaches and perspectives

Editor: Brian Lewis

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