The full-frontal menace of Caravaggio's boldest painting creates one of art's most unsettling encounters. Cupid is a real youth, modelled, it was said in the 17th century , after his own boyfriend "that lay with him". He poses as the god of love, wearing fake wings, grinning insouciantly at the embarrassed onlooker as the painting's severe light leads all eyes to his nudity. Is this what it felt like to be a cardinal eyeing up the trade in baroque Rome? Caravaggio's anarchistic tribute to the destructive power of desire — the stuff of civilisation lies defeated at Cupid's feet — is eternally worrying.
Letting It All Hang Out: 10 Historic Male Nudes From Antiquity to Today
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 Gefter , these images of the body have the potential to challenge taboos around male eroticism and identity , paving the way for future explorations of what it means to be male. This list, excerpted from Phaidon 's new book Body of Art , includes examples from monumental 17th century chalk drawings and Enlightenment-era scientific models to contemporary hyperrealistic sculptures—all proudly owning their nakedness. The kouros "youth"; pl.
If you require assistance in clearing permission we will be pleased to help you. In addition, we work with the owner of the image to clear permission. If you wish to reproduce this image, please inform us so we can clear permission for you. The male nude in art is not as often talked about as its female counterpart.