The male nude in art is not as often talked about as its female counterpart. However, apart from being easy on the eye, the male body in art is full of history and has undergone a host of fascinating transformations over the past years. Our first stop on this quick tour is Ancient Greece.
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By Artspace Editors. Historically made to embody strength, power, and virility, the male nude can also evoke beauty, vulnerability, and sexual intrigue. As we discussed with the photography critic Philip Gefterthese images of the body have the potential to challenge taboos around male eroticism and identitypaving the way for future explorations of what it means to be male. This list, excerpted from Phaidon 's new book Body of Artincludes examples from monumental 17th century chalk drawings and Enlightenment-era scientific models to contemporary hyperrealistic sculptures—all proudly owning their nakedness.
Paintings of naked women, usually by clothed men, are suddenly sitting very uncomfortably on gallery walls. Male artists wonder whether they can work with the female form, while the world questions what their intentions were in the first place. By Michael Slenske.
Francesca Harris used a dating app to receive as many pictures as possible to make an art project out of it. And of course, the men of Tinder obliged, out of the kindness of their heart or whatever kick they get out of sending nudes. The year-old Fine Art student, from Northampton, was met with responses, with some pretty strange requests, as you can imagine.
Their different approaches towards the male figure influenced their renderings, ranging from representations of strength, power and virility to those of beauty, vulnerability and sexual intrigue. The first major culture to celebrate the naked male body was that of ancient Greecewhere male sexual relationships were common practice. From 7th-century BC kouroi to 5th-century contrappostothe male nude revered a physical form, symbolizing virility, strength and power.
Buy Issue Tender, amorous and warm, the images show male bodies as soft and vulnerable—quite different to the rigid, muscular Kouros statues, the ubiquitous depictions of exemplary manhood in Ancient Greece. When we think of male nudity, our ideas our still rooted in those ancient sculptures, Roman and Greek godlike figures, whose nudity proudly proclaimed both their imposing intellectual dominance and physical strength. Every part of the body was symbolic—a small penis, for example, represented a great mind and capacity for stoicism.
With mainstream media concentrating its attention on the sensual female photo industry, male art photography often gets overlooked. However, there's a lot to be said for nude images of muscular men. The impact that single shot of a man's ripped torso can have on an audience is in no way ambiguous or equivocal.