In ancient Greece, kalos kagathos was a way of referring to the ideal beauty of the male body. Speaking of beauty and goodness, the term more broadly refers to the good, kind, exemplary, and even ethical. The concept can be found in the graceful statues that managed to survive the passage of time. The marble describes the curves of the body and its similarity with reality, so that, put in Socratic terms, they are the most beautiful works of art conceivable.
Over time, the aesthetic debate has been transformed, and man ceased to be relevant as part of a work reflecting the creator. The serious role of the muse, after more than two thousand years of patriarchy, has been decisively replaced by the female figure as the definition of beauty, leaving the male figure in the distant past.
The Tumblr blog Humeurs des jours is a tribute to photography that acknowledges male passions. Leaving behind the contemporary idea that men should be rude, aggressive, careless, etc., these images display delicacy and vulnerability.
The aggressiveness of the phallus –its visual violence– is intermingled with the faint shades of black and white in which they are exposed. The warmth of the male embrace in an erotic exercise takes on the aesthetic of Robert Mapplethorpe, but rather than projecting a spirit of transgression, it opts for a soft concept of male sexuality.
Instead of the toned body —musculature pronounced to the point of impossibility, implying a rigorous daily routine of training to obtain this appearance of manhood—, the bodies in these images glow with delicacy, something real and present when human bodies are presented naturally and candidly.
Male eroticism breaks all boundaries with its very existence, but by seeing the work of the photographers presented in Humeurs des jours we come to understand that beauty does not reside only in Aphrodite or Helen.
The singularity of each image shows that it seems strange for us to find a man exploring his sexuality. Whether alone or accompanied by other men, we can feel the homoerotic charge that transforms the notion of the image.
This is a carefully curated selection for the digital age. The work exposed on this Tumblr site explores beauty as a whole. Although an image can be analyzed in a singular way, the linear display of this collection gives an intimacy and artistry to the male form, so each work and its intention is appreciated as a whole.
This is a form of liberating sexuality. It demonstrates that each person has an idea of what they consider beautiful, erotic, and sensual. Tensions break, and as change comes, we realize this is not the moment to run away from it in fear, but to embrace the idea that anyone can enjoy their sexual freedom, as long as the others' rights are always respected as well.