Images of the Nude Male in European Art Essay

Images of the Nude Male in European Art Essay

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The human body, especially the nude male figure, has been a subject of art since the first scratching appeared on cave walls. Stick figures with phalluses denoted the male, procreation and dominance. Archeologists have found evidences proving that the male nude appeared in Egypt in the early Dynastic periods and in early Mesopotamia four thousand years ago.

The Greek made the nude into art, and we, the Americans, made it into something commonly referred to as pornography. Until today, nude is still a major subject in art that everyone would have seen a few times, either in display cases of a museum or in greater numbers of male underwear ads. Myself being a boy of the old capital of Vietnam, I grew up with such statues in the décor of my living environment. I still remember that my family owed some of them, which my grandmom called antiques. She handled them with great care, and never allowed us to come near them. Since the time I developed some interest in art, I looked at these white marble pieces each time I went home, and I recognized their personality as well as their great significances in our human revolution.

In this essay, I would like to discuss the images of men in European art thoughout three examples: Apollo, Michelangelo's David, and Bernini's David. First we need to understand: what is the origin of the Greek nude? The nude was first locked into the tradition of high culture - as a symbol of high art, kings and notables had themselves sculpted naked. However there are differences between male and female nudes. "Men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being look at. This determines not only most relations between men and women in themselves" (Berger 373).

I agree with Berger...


... middle of paper ...


...he stone between Goliath's eyes. Lying on the ground is the armor he chose not to wear since it is not suit him. However, in Bernini's creation you find an aspect that is different from the Biblical description; there is a harp lying at David's feet. It is symbolizing David's artistic talents as a musician, even though he chose to volunteer to fight Goliath to free his country.

Today, the nude is still a major subject of art. And the male figure still brings beautiful ideas to artist. However, it can be pleasing. It can be porn. It is up to our our imagination, our expression and our desires.

Works Cited.

Berger, John. "Images of Women In European Art." Motives for Writing: Robert Keith Miller. Bostoni McGraw Hill 2002. 373-90

Brodo, Susan. "Beaty (Re)Discovers The Male Body." Motives for Writing: Robert Keith Miller. Bostoni McGraw Hill 2002. 392-409

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