The agonism and the ecstasy

(There will be (all-male) slices of a Rubens masterpiece, but the centerpiece of this posting is an act of aggressive fellatio, so it’s not for kids or the sexually modest.)

Not at all what I intended to be doing with my morning, but Chance intervened; Chance the Bringer of Felicitous Juxtaposition has a side career as a gardener, as in Being There. First , this morning he brought me an e-ad for a new gay porn DVD, Briar Basin Ranch – Act I, the cover of which shows that aggressive fellatio, in a fine composition of light and shadow playing on tensed muscles.

Reminding me of agonistic scenes in Baroque painting. While I was trying to dredge up some specific examples, Chance kindly pointed me to a Facebook posting yesterday by Randy McDonald, reporting on a visit to the Art Gallery of Ontario, where he encountered Peter Paul Rubens’s The Massacre of the Innocents (ca. 1610), showing the biblical Massacre of the Innocents of Bethlehem by the soldiers of King Herod, as related in Matthew 2:13-18 — a painting that’s all light and shadow playing on the tensed musculature of the murderers (and on the contorted faces of the victims’ families). Bingo.

As for the facial expressions, I note once again how hard it is to distinguish ferocity from intense pleasure — or, for that matter, either of these from intense pain.

Now, BBR is (very carefully posed) photography, while MotI is a painting; the color values of the Baroque are not the same as the color values of modern artists and photographers; and of course BBR intends to show two men enjoying mutual intense pleasure in sexual connection, while MotI shows fierce men terrorizing the innocents. Nevertheless, there are visible parallels.

Briar Basin Ranch. The DVD cover, on which Roman Todd gives and Brandon Anderson receives. The two bodies lie on a diagonal, with Todd’s lower body thrust out in a Y, embraced by Anderson’s welcoming upper body in a W:

(#1) Todd’s dick had to be fuzzed out for WordPress modesty, giving the impression that Anderson is staring fixedly at Todd’s hairy but empty crotch — possibly a good thing, since it forces you to look at everything else (if there’s a hard cock in there, it’s going to monopolize our attention)

There is an actual plot to the flick. From the makers:

When Julius’s father, Bartram Franklin, passes away, he’s shocked that within his dad’s vast portfolio of investments there is a ranch that has been left to him. He knew nothing about it and upon researching he realizes the Briar Basin Ranch doubles as a popular gay bed-and-breakfast. He has no idea why his dad would own the place, but decides to take his wife Charlotte to check it out. When he arrives, he’s greeted by Richie, his father’s hospitality assistant. Though Julius was unaware why his father needed someone in that position, he gets to know Richie and realizes that his father liked to have Richie in many positions. The all-gay staff are incredibly welcoming to Julius and Charlotte and the couple settles in for a nice weekend without knowing the crew’s true intentions.

Well, yes, it gets down to episodic sex, which is what the genre is for. But the snippets I’ve been able to view suggest that the thing is well-made. As a bonus, the character Julius is black, and he gets to do astonished sitcom-takes at the goings-on on the ranch. (I assume he gets sexual satisfaction from one or more of the white guys in the flick. For reasons both political and personal, I’m all in favor of Black and White Men Together.)

The Massacre of the Innocents. Two details from the larger, very crowded, work. Here, to focus your attention on the muscular murderers, I’ve fuzzed out most the victims (though in #2 you can see the hand of one of them clawing at the face of one of the terrorists; and also in #2 I’ve left in one infant victim’s body):

(#2) Amidst the horror, the two figures make a huge inverted V, with the unfortunate baby at its apex

(#3) The central, grimacing, figure is plunging his sword into one of his victims — the sort of thing that could put you off violence vocabulary for describing sex (see #1, where Todd is plunging his metaphorical sword into Anderson’s mouth)

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