Synopses & Reviews
What does a naked man look like? The sculptors of the ancient world knew the answer, and so did Michelangelo, but few dared ask the question. The ruling classes do not wish to see themselves naked or to be viewed as objects of desire. The female nude was always conspicuous in western iconography, but the male nude lacks a comparable continuity of tradition. The 20th century has seen a growth of male imagery because of the birth of a confident gay movement coupled with the women's movement combined with the camera's fascination with the male body as an object of desire. Slowly but surely the taboo on the male nude has been broken.
This compendious volume provides an overdue review of material that at one time could only be bought under the counter, beginning with the anonymous erotica of the 19th century. It features the pioneer homoerotic nude photographs of Baron Wilhelm von Gloeden, posing nude youths in classical postures at Taormina in Sicily. It includes illustrations from groundbreaking magazines such as "Physique Pictorial," the leading organ of the mid-Fifties gay scene. And it covers the entire range from classic masters of male nude photography, such as Herbert List, George Platt Lynes or Robert Mapplethorpe, to the pin-up beefcake of the sex magazines. In brief: a matchless galaxy of cool male talent.