A cult figure of classical times, Adonis represents rebirth and the continuance of youth. Born from incest between his mother Myrrha and her father Theias, King of Syria, Adonis died at the tusks of a wild boar. Where his blood spilt, each drop is said to have turned into a blood-red flower. In modern times, his name is commonly used in relation to handsome male youths.
Michelangelo was an Italian renaissance painter, sculptor, architect and poet. He is best known for works such the statue of David (which he completed at the age of just 29) and for painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Florence. He also designed the roof of St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican city, but died before construction was completed.
He expressed great love both for men, such as the young Tommaso dei Cavalieri to whom he dedicated hundreds of sonnets, and women, such as Vittoria Colonna. A homoerotic element can be easily identified in his writing and his sculpture.
Symbolism was a late 19th century movement, originating in France and Belgium. The symbolists sought to capture absolute truths, elevating the humble above the ideal by evoking a response through metaphor and symbolic meaning rather than providing descriptions. Notable artists of the period include the painter Gustav Klimt.
Symbolism would go on to influence modernist writers of the 20th century such as T.S. Eliot.