Monday, February 9, 2009

Sleeping Beauties

Gavin Hamilton, Achilles Mourning Patroclus

Jacques Louis David, Male Nude

Girodet, Endymion

Narcisse Guerin, Cupid and Psyche

I sometimes think that the only difference between me and the old Neoclassicists, especially from David's school, is that I'm out of the closet and they weren't. Yes, David was married with 4 kids, but I wouldn't vouch for his heterosexuality. Read what he told his students after he met and painted Napoleon for the first time: "What a fine head he has---pure, great, as beautiful as the Antique! Here is a man to whom altars would have been erected in Antiquity; yes, my friends, Bonaparte is my hero!" ...and that from the man who co-signed hundreds of death warrants while on the Committee of Public Safety and voted for the death of the king.

Here is David's first portrait of Napoleon made in a single sitting.


Counterlight said...

Now, THESE are campy.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...


David G. said...

It's too bad they had unrealistic dimensions of the male anatomy, unless every male back then had pituitary tumors.

Counterlight said...

The taste for big schlongs (at least in public in works of art) didn't appear until the 20th century. Gentlemen were afraid ladies might get the vapors. Then, women decided they wanted the vapors, and men stopped being gentle.

Before the 20th century, only Priapus was allowed to appear in art with formidable equipment.

JCF said...

Is that what David G meant?

I find the male nudes in both the Girodet and Guerin to have rather feminine proportion (just give 'em an innie rather than an outie, and boobs, et voila!).

The David male nude seems like the real thing, though . . . y'know, if you're into that sorta thing. ;-/

Counterlight said...

There is that character known in some quarters, especially the South, as a "girly boy." They are about as much the same as women as butch lesbians are the same as men. And they have a very old pedigree (see any male sculpture by Praxiteles or his many imitators from the 4th century BC). And they are not exclusively Western (see any number of Persian miniatures).