The “Winckelmann and His Passionate Followers” conference wishes to take up the discussion initiated by several recent publications in addition to the “Winckelmann – The Divine Sex” exhibition at the Schwules Museum, Berlin (2017) concerning Winckelmann’s never concealed homosexuality by examining it as an constitutive element of his interpretation of ancient art and culture. With Winckelmann, (male) beauty became a subject of scholarship. Besides such biographical aspects, the question will be posed concerning the extent to which Winckelmann’s influence led to an opening up of the humanities and cultural studies to a ‘queer’ reading of antiquity, generating a picture of ideal masculinity that was both instructive and desirable. Queer and gender studies offer rewarding approaches. The central theme of the conference concerns the new possibilities offered by archaeology in particular to an international network of scholars with a view to unfolding a penetrating discourse over and above traditional gender roles and expanding the erotological practice to encompass the study of ancient history. Focus is placed on the eroticism of desire as an impulse for research, for collecting and for artistic as well as literary production. In the process, Winckelmann’s contemporaries as well as his ‘passionate followers’ to the present day will be discussed, these members of the cultural elite encompassing archaeologists and patrons, collectors, literary figures and artists, some of whom openly lived out their homosexual inclinations, who saw the potential for a fresh aesthetic and societal start in the appropriation of classical (Greek) antiquity.