Now Reading
10 iconic homoerotic artworks by The Joy of Gay Sex illustrator Michael Leonard (NSFW)

10 iconic homoerotic artworks by The Joy of Gay Sex illustrator Michael Leonard (NSFW)

A new retrospective of artist Michael Leonard, who often incorporates homoerotic motifs in his work, has been staged in London.

Henry Miller Fine Art presents Michael Leonard is currently being held at Coningsby Gallery on London’s Tottenham Street. It will be on display until 27 October.

Michael is famous for contributing illustrations to the seminal queer book The Joy of Gay Sex, released in 1977. Male nudes are a common theme throughout his work.

The new exhibit spans five decades of Michael’s career, and is his first exhibit in the English capital in 15 years.

Among the renowned works on display are Passage of Arms (1979), Changing (1981) and Bather Stooping Low (2005).

In a slight deviation from his usual subjects, Michael was once commissioned to paint a portrait of HRH Queen Elizabeth II. That work won’t be on display at the retrospective – but it is hanging in London’s National Portrait Gallery, so go check that out too!

‘Michael’s male nudes were an oasis of beauty and tenderness’

Curator Henry Miller told Gay Star news: ‘I don’t quite remember how I first became aware of Michael Leonard’s work, in a pre-internet world. But the lasting memory I have is a feeling of being moved when I did so.’

‘Growing up as a gay man in the late 80s and early 90s, with the AIDS crisis seemingly looming at every corner, Michael’s male nudes were an oasis of beauty and tenderness; defiant in their outlook, executed with sheer brilliance’

He furthermore added: ‘I am very proud of this show. I hope it will give those who already know him a chance to reacquaint themselves with his work while also introduce Michael to a brand new audience.’

Passage of Arms (1979)


Bather Stooping Low (2005)


Bathers with Towels (1980)


Changing (1981)


The Joy of Gay Sex (1977)


Relaxing Bather (1992)


Changing Head (1982)


Covered Head (1984)


Changing Room II (2006)


Changing Into White (1994)

For more information about Henry Miller and the show, visit