Texto original en español / Original article: Reinaldo Cedeño Pineda
Traducción al inglés / Translated by: Leonard Alfred Mbago *
There is not beauty on earth as an amazing nude body. It does not matter if it is male or female, the challenge of reflecting this supreme delight, has remained unchanged.
Cinema, Dance, Sculpture and Theatre, all of them had let its marks of nude art. Of course painting, and centuries later photography. Classical Antiquity lead the masculine nude art to sculptures, Greeks and Romans worshiped the human body. During the Olympic Games naked athletes were the delight of the audience, and became the heroes of those villages they represented. Middle Age was the great moment of the humankind, but The Renaissance meant the human body and pleasure, as the centre of attention.
One of the supreme examples of renaissance art was Michelangelo’s David. On July, 1496 Michelangelo moved to Roma for the first time, and the Pope Julius II, put him in charge of the famous Pietà, The Vatican city. When Michelangelo went back to Florence the Opera of Duomo asked him to do the “David”, that he carried out from 1501 to 1504 .This is a marble statue of 4, 10 meters that represents the naked body of a male during the adolescence with all the muscles of the body apparently tense.
“Michelangelo managed to do a statue, of anatomic perfection, vitality and beauty in one piece. Merging the classical beauty and harmony with expression, meaning and feeling.
To achieve it, he blew up out of all proportion the head, turned it a little bit (avoiding the front part) and the statue gave an expectant gaze, made more concentrated the vigour in the robustness of its hand, blew up out of proportion too (prominent, gigantism is typical of Michelangelo) This work of art is a pattern of anatomy and aesthetics, as an ideal of beauty and style.
In Michelangelo’s David, the hero is about to brandish the sling against the giant Goliath. Contrary to Donatello, that represents him after giving that accurate blow against Goliath, finishing with the giant.
The appearance of photography in 1826 generated little by little the interest for nudism, at first the feminine, and later the masculine. Adolescent boys began to appear naked since the ends of the 19th century. The masculine nude photography tends to represent men in athletic pose, ballet steps or just parts of the human body. Are also famous the pictures of muscular men carrying babies in their arms, to contrast the virile strength, the nudity and innocence of the boy. It is also a tendency among many artists to stylize the nude photography, staining with colour or light some parts of the body to highlight some aspects of the model.
One of the first pioneers in the image of the masculine Eros was the German baron Wilhelm von Gloeden (1856-1931).
In Taormina, a Sicilian city in which he lived, he produced a large number of pictures that are studied as an important landmark among the homoerotic art. Moreover he would become in one of the pioneers of the open air photography.
In his works are included landscapes, mainly Taormina landscapes, gender scenes, portraits of folkloric inspiration and naked boys, in an Arcadian environment made with a great artistic sensitivity.
Since 1890 he began photographing young men and kids naked. On 1914 Von Gloeden took about 7000 pictures. He was idolized and hated, and the present critics elevated him to the category of refined.
PIERRE ET GILLES
An own style was introduced by Pierre and Gilles with their bright and colourful work of art. According to an article by Eugenia de la Torriente “Pierre enlightens and takes the picture. Once developed the picture, Gilles draws meticulously an only one copy until achieve an aura of unreality. Then he constructs a setting of fantasy that not only completes the creation, but emphasizes its value as a unique work of art. Simplifying, Pierre takes the picture and Gilles draws them.
For Dan Cameron, as curator of his travelling exposition in 2000, "they are authentic reformists, as they find intolerable to leave the world in the same state of ugliness they found ".
His first run as a duo, Grimaces (pulling faces) dates from 1977 “We are craftsmen. Our creation in all levels and moments is a manual labour. The sets are made by us, the frames are handmade and the touching-up are made brushstroke to brushstroke”, explains Pierre. “An artist only expresses himself when controls the whole process”, settles Gilles.
During the 80’s, his complex and hyperbolic works of art where pictures and painting are together, broke the bounds of the commercial art that they were banished. From sleeves, posters and magazines were moved to the galleries. Lots of famous people posed for them.
Marta Gili, general manager of the Parisian gallery Jeu de Paume, informed the press El PAÍS: “With the development of colourful and sophisticated images, they represent the idealism, optimistic and nostalgic, of those people who never lose hope concerning the human kindness”.
One of the most famous photographers of nude art is Robert Mapplethorpe (New York, November 4th, 1946 – Boston, March 9th, 1989).
Famous for his images in white and black of great format, he became a specialist of nude bodies and flowers. The erotic connotation of his work generated more than one controversy during his career. During the 70´s he began to take some pictures to some friends, artists, composers and actors.
Some of those pictures were hard-hitting for its content, but exquisite concerning the technique.
On the decade of 1980 he refines his style, making pictures of nudism with a sculptural appearance, men, women, portraits of celebrities emphasizing the classical beauty.
Mapplethorpe declared to ART news in 1988: “I look for the unexpected. I search things that I’ve never seen before …”
He produced a solid work making an effort between balance and perfection, becoming one of the most important artists of the 20th century. A sample of his work was shown in Cuba.
PAUL CADMUS y RICHARD AVEDON
Another famous artist by his drawings and paintings of the masculine Eros was Paul Cadmus (New York, December 17th, 1904-Weston, Connecticut, December 12th, 1999.
“His work mixes elements of eroticism and social criticism that produces a style often called pictorial realism. In 1934 he painted The Fleet's In! This painting in which appear sailormen, women and a homosexual, was the object of a public controversy and was removed from the gallery Corcoran. This event helped him to catapult his career”.
“He worked as a commercial illustrator, but his couple Jared French, convinced him to dedicate his whole time to painting. He lived with Jon Anderson, his partner during 35 years, who was the inspiration of many of his works. He died at his place five days before his 95th anniversary”.
Another great photographer of this century was the North American Richard Avedon (New York, May 15th, 1923 – San Antonio, Texas, October 1st, 2004).
He was maybe the most famous photographer of fashion in the history (Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, Life y Look).
He also took pictures of the movement by the civil rights in the south part of the United States and the West villages.
Among his famous images stand out those made to Truman Capote, Henry Miller, Humphrey Bogart or Marilyn Monroe.
His portraits are of an amazing psychological depth. He preferred famous or unknown people posing in front of a spotless background.
“His method was simple but effective, the defeat of the state of mind of the photographed person through long and tiring photo sessions. Thus the photographed person was able to show the most sincere parts of the personality”.
(The famous dancer Rudolf Nureyev seen by Avedon, in it characteristic and spotless background. Paris, 1961)
Such is the case of the image of the Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev. Is so great the perfection in this masterpiece that no one noticed his nude body, but in the ability of the artist to capture the balance. He paints an accurate picture of a human being and not of a body itself. He captured a human being at a miraculous rest.
He took pictures of the accurate moment of balance of a rebellious spirit. His purpose, to mould to the light one of the greatest dancers of the history, away from the stage. This is one of those examples that differentiate nude art from pornography.
The first searches for delicacy, definitions, psychology and character. Is an aesthetic canto where lasciviousness has no space. In the other hand pornography only looks for the sexual excitation.
TOM OF FINLAND
We cannot forget in this brief recount to Touko Laaksonen (Kaarina, Finland. May 8th, 1920- Helsinki November 7th, 1991).
Known all over the world as Tom of Finland, is one of the graphic artists with great influence in the 20th century, in special the homoerotic graphic arts.
His technique of detailed drawing made him achieve fame as a master of the pencil.
He presents “a meticulous study of the masculine human body: volume and shape in all his characters and their surrounding that put the finishing touches of realism with the handle of the grounds and the vanishing points”.
“Many of his draws are made in black and white where represented handsome and muscular male in homoerotic scenes are. His characters very often wear jeans, leather stuff or several kinds of uniforms, with a style very easy to identify”.
We cannot forget that those proposals are made in a period of time “in a half way between the recognition of the gay people and exclusion”.
(The design of costumes, the fashion industry, perfume and leisure turned Tom of Finland into an idol, taking into account his erotic, defiant and aggressive style).
There’s not beauty on earth as a naked human body. When an artist touches it, it turns into a piece of art.
* The translater Leonard Alfred Mbago Hechavarría is a foreing language student.
RELATED ARTICLES /ARTÍCULOS RELACIONADOS
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---MAPPLETHORPE: God of the photographic Eros/ El dios del Eros fotográfico http://laislaylaespina.blogspot.com/2009/11/robert-mapplethorpe-el-dios-del-eros.html
---Eros´s dialogues / Diálogos del EROS
---HERMAN PUIG: - Bodies of light / Los cuerpos de la luz
---Naked British Sportsmen / Deportistas británicos en pelotas
---Eroticism and pornography : The thin red line / Erotismo y pornografía: La delgada línea roja:
---We are not God: Landmarks of gay art in Cuba / NO SOMOS DIOS: Hitos del arte gay en Cuba
---Tom of Finland:Apolo´s pencil / TOM de Finlandia: El lápiz de Apolo