5 Male Nude Paintings Only Art Lovers Can Name

lunes, 19 de junio de 2017 10:34

|Josue Brocca

There's nothing purer than our naked bodies. We feel this when we take off our clothes, it is as if a weight has been lifted off our shoulders and we're no longer beholden to the limits society has imposed on us. The body takes on a wealth of meanings, it can be a window to the soul and also be ultimate object of desire. So, as you undress a person and remove each layer, you'll discover their best kept secrets, their inner most desires and thoughts. In the art world we could say that our nude bodies are the perfect canvas upon which the world captures our everyday experiences. The tension in our muscles, the curve of our spine, the marks on our back and neck —we don't think about it all the time, but our body is the only medium that truly records our whole experiences in the world.  Every scar in a body is a memory, a memento of the past. So gazing at a nude body is always a singular experience.  Every man experiences the world in a different skin; every skin is, in itself, a map to the essence of a person. Perhaps, it is all these elements together that make these painting so beguiling.

male nude paintingsVictorious Cupid (1601-2), Caravaggio

Standing among instruments and the draping sheets of an unmade bed, Caravaggio's Cupid strikes an angelically bright pose amid a room taken by shadow.  His attitude lies somewhere between naivety and defiance; his body is neither that of a child or a man. His stomach's muscles and the curving of his arm suggest manly strength, but his genitals and legs appear childlike. With his fist, he proudly clenches the arrows of love while smiling, as if he just recently discovered the enormous power in his hands.  


male nude paintingsNaked Man, Back View (1991-92), Lucian Freud

For the Naked Man series, Lucian Freud portrayed performance artist Leigh Bowery, who died not long after the making of the painting. Freud's depiction mixes a sense of intimacy and fear, disgust and admiration. Unlike the classical school of painting, his brush focuses on and highlights the textures of the body. The subject's proportions are overpowering, his limbs, feet, and head are all mixed together into a single lump of white flesh. The pale colors of the seat and the sheet draped across the wall serve as camouflage for Bowery's pale flesh.  

male nude paintingsBaigneurs (1879-1882), Paul Cézanne

Following the voyeuristic tradition of nude paintings, Cézanne's work takes his viewers to a clearing in the woods, where they can peep through the shrubs and find a bucolic scene of five youths bathing in the river. Each body is engaged in a different activity, giving the scene a dynamic liveliness. An image that is both fraternal and erotic, Cézanne turns the bathers into forest nymphs dancing around in freedom, being one with nature itself. 

male nude paintings
Charles Demuth (1915), Turkish Bath

Demuth's depiction of a Turkish bath builds a steamy and moist atmosphere where all the subjects share a secret space of intimacy. The bodies of the subjects blend in with the background and their limbs flicker like flames. Demuth transforms the public into the private, turning the bath into an ethereal space, where manly bodies interact with each other in an erotic way. It's as if amid the water's vapor, all of these subjects forgot their names and allowed their bodies take hold of their conscience.  


male nude paintings

Man in the Shower in Beverly Hills (1964), David Hockney

Hockney's voyeuristic piece feels not only like a reflection on the male body, but also on how it relates to a space. Behind the curved back of the man showering, the square mosaics of the bathroom build a cold and hostile pattern to the reclining man. The rigid lines in the background seem to push the man away from the bathroom wall. His body is composed mostly of organic, circular lines, emphasizing the lumps that mark the silhouette of his body. Looking carefully at his demeanor, the man appears to be aware of how the room pushes him aside, even though this is barely an optical illusion. Right at the center line of the frame, the man raises his head towards the spectator. We cannot see his eyes but we know he is looking at us, as if he realized we were peeping through the bathroom window.

If you want to be soothed by other great pieces of art, don't forget to look at the 10 paintings aside from the Mona Lisa that captured the power of the female gaze and the paintings that prove the relationship between madness and creativity

The Guardian

Josue Brocca

Josue Brocca