Toy soldiers capture the homoeroticism of military life

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Is there anything more masculine and homoerotic than the military? Buff men in constant close proximity…the intimacy of barracks and communal showers…uniforms and guns…testosterone and adrenaline mingling against a backdrop of mortal danger. The subtext isn’t exactly camouflaged. 

Italian artist Raffaello De Vito taps into the sexual frission of military life in his project “The Lovers.” Featuring muscly toy soliders embracing, kissing, and being generally homoerotic, the series subverts the Army’s traditional iconography of machismo and heterosexuality. Further pissing off patriots, some of the tableaus also feature interracial couplings.

It’s a heady stew, as beautiful as it is provocative. For a real-life counterpart to De Vito’s toyland, check out My Buddy: World War II Laid Bare (Taschen), which documents full-frontal bromances among Allied soldiers. 

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