Hotties of Art History
Hi! Ana Bosch here with Thursday Things! My thing for the day is the male nude in art.
As documented by the Guerrilla Girls, 83 percent of the nudes in the Metropolitan Museum of Art are female, even though less than 3 percent of the artists are women. Unfortunately, we seem to be living in an era with little appreciation for the male nude. Sure, there’s the rare recent genius like the late Paul Cadmus who is celebrated for his handling of the male nude, but for the most part, finding the nude men amidst the sea of female breasts and hips and butts can be a challenge.
Sometimes I’m jealous of the people who lived in, say, the sixteenth century. Sure, there was constant warring and religious turmoil and no indoor plumbing and rampant disease. But their male nudes were pretty awesome.
I’m sure all the great artists of antiquity always aspired for their works to be part of a “Hotties of Art History” list, so that’s exactly what I’m going to give you! Here are some of my favorite male nudes from years past.
The Classical period is undoubtedly one of the best places to find good male nudes. And since I’m a total Hermes fangirl, how could I not love the Hermes Logios from ancient Greece? For more, also check out Hermes and the Infant Dionysus, and Giovanni da Bologna’s Flying Mercury.
This is the Apollo Belvedere, a Roman copy of an original bronze Greek sculpture from around 350 BC. Whoever thought nude men with capes would look ridiculously awesome instead of just ridiculous?
Skipping ahead to the early Italian Renaissance and the year 1440, we have Donatello’s David, who surely wins the prize for sassiest depiction of a biblical character. The Renaissance is another great time for male nudity. It’s commonly believed that three of the four Ninja Turtles were gay, and the fourth (Raphael) still knew his way around the male figure, so this is definitely a time period worth checking out.
Caravaggio is probably my favorite painter, and his Boy with a Basket of Fruit served as inspiration for the cover of my new novel, Art of Death. Here we have his 1602 painting of St. John the Baptist, also known as Youth with a Ram. My favorite Caravaggio paintings actually aren’t nude, but there’s a high degree of sensuality in many of them.
In 1778, Jacques-Louis David created this gorgeous painting, Nude Known as Hector. Okay, so I’ve loved the Iliad since junior high, and I always rooted for Achilles even though he was a brat of epic proportions, but I have to admit this is a killer painting of Hector. Also check out the same artist’s Nude Known as Patroclus. It’s equally jaw-dropping.
Flandrin’s Study from 1835 is a long-time favorite for me. I love the sense of emotion and vulnerability that comes across in it. This is something you rarely see in the handling of the male nude.
Want to read more about male nudes, art, and gorgeous nude models? Check out my new novel, Art of Death! Available from Dreamspinner Press.
Despite the support of his rich older boyfriend, starving artist Riley Burke is determined not to be a trophy—hence his second job as a nude model at the local art school. It’s important to him that he pay his own way, so when the artist Coliaro requests a private modeling session with him, he jumps at the chance to earn some real cash.
Then he hears the rumors—that Coliaro is undead. That his worshippers perform rituals to fill him with life energy. That every time he paints a male nude, the painting transforms to depict a gruesome murder. And that shortly after, a young man turns up dead.
The source of these rumors is a man named Westwood, who claims to be an instructor at the school and warns Riley not to get involved. Riley ignores the advice—but when the rumors pan out and another murder looms, he turns to Westwood for help. Westwood is clearly keeping secrets. He’s dangerous, and Riley doesn’t know if he can be trusted—which makes him all the more attractive. Riley is in way over his head… and his involvement with the undead may make him the ultimate target.