On Hot Gay Statues (Special Investigative Report): Washington DC Embroiled in Hot Gay Statue Scandal!

01Dec08

In which The Gay Recluse files a special investigative report.

Recently Reader Lloyd put us on notice about the existence of an entire army of hot gay statues gracing the colonnade at Union Station in Washington, DC. Which ok is awesome, but his note also contained a scandalous rumor, which we reproduce in full:

I was told about the statuary in Union Station by a friend in San Diego, now 65, who attended seminary in Washington, DC, as a youth. Floods of seminarians used to go to Union Station to view the statues before the shields were installed. The statues, all similar, ring the second level of the atrium-like entrance lobby, maybe 25 to 40, and are over life-size. They all hold shields which cover their bodies from feet to chest level. Once when waiting for a train, I tried to check them out, but access to the gallery behind them was not possible.

We wondered if this could be true, and found some pix on Flickr of the statues in question:

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Hey, who are those hot guys on top of those columns? (Photo by mattherbison on Flickr)


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Whoas! This guy’s pretty hot. Definitely gay, too.
(Photo by jcolman on Flickr)

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Pretty smokin, frankly. (Photo by jcolman on Flickr)

Ok then, so there’s like a hundred of these smokin’ Romans milling around, but srsly, what’s up with the shields? According to one DC art blog, the shields were added after a public outcry in 1907, when the station was opened. Here’s the full story:

Apparently when the sculptor, Augustus Saint Gaudens — who was a pretty popular public art and monument sculptor at the turn of the century — received the commission for the centurions, he asked if he was to make the Roman soldiers historically accurate.

He was told yes.

When Saint Gaudens delivered the models for the sculptures, Washingtonians on the arts panel were a little shocked to discover that some of the centurion maquettes were fully nude in uncircumsized splendor for all to see.

And so a hundred years ago Saint Gaudens was told to cover them up. In the arguments that I am sure followed, the solution came in the form of shields (which to me look historically inaccurate by the way), which would cover the Italians’ willies. They remain naked beneath them.

Really!? True or apocryphal? So far the only photograph we could find even hinting at this most tantalizing state of affairs is this one:

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These guys are srsly hot, but the question remains: why the shields? (Photo by jcolman on Flickr.)

We want to extend a big thanks to Lloyd who turned us on to what conceivably could go down as the biggest scandal in the history of hot gay statues! That said, we are left with important questions: Will some kind reader in DC send us an even hotter pic of one of these centurions (and what hides behind the shields)? And if it turns out to be true, will President-elect Obama finally restore these hot gay statues to their intended glory? There can be no doubt that the world is holding its collective breath…

The Hot Gay Statue round-up:



6 Responses to “On Hot Gay Statues (Special Investigative Report): Washington DC Embroiled in Hot Gay Statue Scandal!”

  1. 1 c.

    I’m reminded of an entertaining half-hour I spent with PBS the other day, on a documentary about the making of Rick Steves’ ubiquitous and long-running “Europe” series. In his running commentary about content, scripts, videography and subject matter, he noted that he and his crew always needed to be mindful of the “American audience.” He said that even though nudity in art, and particularly in public statuary, has been lauded and appreciated for at least 2500 years within the cultures which have produced such art, much of what he sees in his travels would be considered “unsuitable” for publicly-funded American TV, and mustn’t be inadvertently caught on camera. He was diplomatic (and time-constrained) enough not to expand further on the subject, but his expression and tone spoke volumes more.

    Obviously, poor Saint-Gaudens (and many of his peers, no doubt) had already run into the same, ironic brick wall over 100 years ago.

    Frustrating, if not news, for the Hot Gay Statue project.

  2. If I wasn’t paying close enough attention, I would have thought the gay centurians standing atop the entablature in the first photo were religious statues. Kind of an ironic blend of homoeroticism and iconography which invokes the homophobic.

  3. Thanks for the comments everyone! C, I’m totally not surprised by Steves’ comments, although of course it’s this very notion that provides some of the satirical bite to the notion of a hot gay statue. (Obv I’d prefer a culture where such a satirical commentary was pointless.)

  4. Tks for the shout out… not all the statues are naked… go back and examine each one from underneath (wherever that is possible)…

    LC


  1. 1 centurian orgy « Prodigy
  2. 2 Washington City Paper: The Sexist - The Morning After: First Bling Edition

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