It’s Raining Men

Ah, if only! Maybe I should run out out to Victoria’s Secret and make some slutty lingerie purchases. You know, just in case 😉

No, no. What I’m really talking about is Museworthy’s blatantly sexist history. That’s right, I admit it. The bias toward the female nude on this blog has been pretty glaring, has it not? I looked at my Image Gallery page and noticed that except for a couple of Michelangelos, the artwork subjects are all women, all the time. It’s like the damn Lifetime Channel! So I want you all to know that I am aware of it and I feel bad, especially since I’ve been so fortunate to have male art models reading the blog regularly and contributing such excellent comments and insights, all of which I enjoy and appreciate immensely. So I’m sorry guys! I will make it up to you and remedy the problem starting with this post. The male nude subject is definitely nothing to be ignored. And no, it does not play second fiddle to females.

I envy male life models for many reasons, the most significant being their ability to project strength. No matter how fit and toned a female model may be, it isn’t the same. The male physique, whether buffed, semi-buffed, moderately fit or whatever, projects strength regrardless because of its anatomical characteristics. For example, the widest part of a man’s body is his shoulders, which sit atop the rest of the figure. Visually, the eye sees that width and weight at the top, which projects an image of strength and power. The male body also has straighter lines, sharper angles, and harder surfaces. More traits that go to strength. Female figures have curvier lines, a lower center of gravity (at the hips) and a higher body fat percentage; all things that render a softer, gentler, less-threatening appearance.

Let’s kick off the male nudes on Museworthy with this stunner from the titan of French Neo-Classical painting, Jacques-Louis David. From Greek mythology, this is his portrayal of Patroclus, who accompanied his good friend Achilles to the the Trojan War, where he was slain by Hector. Created in 1780, here is Patroclus, and the male form in all its strapping and virile beauty. A superb twisted pose. Amazing. And you see how the figure does all the work, all the communicating, holds all the expression and emotion? We can’t see his face. Does it matter? No.

jacques-louis_david_patrocle

14 thoughts on “It’s Raining Men

  1. exbrun2 says:

    Muse,

    Thanks for finally promoting the male nude at Museworthy. As a male art model, I appreciate any artful exposure of the male form.

    You have addressed the male nude in the past – I’ve seen references to Michaelangelo. You even addressed some of the hazards of being a male art model.

    So I wouldn’t say you’ve completely ignored the male form in art. You’ve just been looking in other directions.

    I do like the painting of Patroclus. He does have some very good musculature. The torso twist is a nice touch. I’ll have to try that pose sometime….

  2. Jeff says:

    Lifetime features lots of nude women? I may have to check it out. 🙂

    Seriously, though, this blog is from your perspective – that of a female art model. Hell, even the roots of the blog’s name “Museworth” imply the feminine. There were no male muses.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with a little balance – the male nude is a great artistic subject, too, but it wouldn’t seem to be one that you’ve got quite as personal a perspective on.

    Or maybe I’m justifying the fact that I like all the female nudes on your site 🙂

  3. ColdSilverMoon says:

    I hear you Jeff, no complaints about female nudity from me either!

    But I do think Claudia makes a great point about the male physique and how it translates onto paper or canvas. As a male model, I rarely take “coy” postures, and try to be as aggressive and dynamic as possible, because I believe the male body is more suited to those types of poses. Not that females can’t have great dynamic poses, but the male body is, in general, more suited to these. I try to do mostly standing with some sitting poses, with a very upright posture, and of course with the same sort of twist we see in Patroclus. It’s good to have reclining and “passive” poses as well (eg, Michelangelo’s Pieta), but I definitely agree with Claudia: the male form is more about power and strength.

    I think it would it be fair to say the female figure is better at expressing pure beauty and the male form more about power. Regardless, the nude forms of both sexes are wonderful to behold in art!

    Thanks for yet another great post!

  4. Annelie says:

    I notice that I draw differently when viewing a male model. I tend to use straighter, jabbier lines. So, a few times I tried drawing female models with those kinds of lines to see what would happen. Like here. I think she looks more sculpted and stoney. Interesting post!

  5. dougrogers says:

    eh… doesn’t do anything for me 🙂

  6. dougfromcanada says:

    Bravo to Claudia, male or female, either one the figure rules!

  7. artmodel says:

    exbrun,

    You’re very welcome. No, the male nude hasn’t been completely absent from the Museworthy, but after a full year of blogging, it’s been disproportionately scarce. Just those few references to Michelangelo, like you mentioned.

    But the male form will be getting it’s due recognition in the future!

    Thanks for commenting.

    Claudia

  8. artmodel says:

    Jeff, you naughty boy! Yeah, you come her for the female nudes! I knew it all along! 🙂

    Ah, I’m kidding around. I’m glad you pointed out that this blog is from a female art model’s perspective. I suppose I can use that an excuse, but I really took it to quite the extreme. I also feel bad because some of my closer friends are male art models, more than females actually.

    As for the Lifetime Channel, I meant that referring to “all women, all the time”. Not necessarily nudes. That would be the Playboy Channel, I’m assuming 😉

    Good to hear from you, Jeff!

    Claudia

  9. artmodel says:

    ColdSilverMoon,

    I totally agree with your comments. I’d say you hit the nail on the head. I am a firm believer that life modeling is not some gender-neutral thing. Sure the subject is a human being regardless, but it’s foolish and naive to pretend that male/female isn’t a vital factor! And I think that a model should be extra-conscious of his/her gender when posing. I have absolutely no problem with that.

    I rarely to never do those distinctly masculine poses. Closer to never. I never use the pole, I never emulate famous classic poses of male art subjects, I never attempt to project something that’s the domain of a male form, like strength and power. At 5’5″, 119 lbs, with small shoulders and a small frame, how is it even possible? Why bother?

    Of course, many poses are perfectly suited to both. But the bottom line is that I’m a woman and I pose like one. I’d rather look authentic than try to “do everything”. Why do everything if it’s going to strike an odd, false note? If artists have to adjust their drawing to the subject’s gender, then the model should certainly do the same with poses.

    Thanks so much for your great comments. I enjoyed them!

    Claudia

  10. artmodel says:

    Annelie,

    Thanks for your comment. And that’s for the link to your drawing. You know, I liked it! But then again, I really like the way you draw in general 🙂

    Interesting to hear an artist’s perspective on this, and about your tendency to use different lines for male and female. Makes perfect sense to me!

    Claudia

  11. artmodel says:

    Dougrogers,

    Don’t you worry, female nudes aren’t going anywhere. So rest assured, friend 🙂

    Claudia

  12. artmodel says:

    DougfromCanada,

    Amen to that! And thanks!

    Claudia

  13. Bruce says:

    I always enjoyed it when a male would pose. I loved the challenge of being forced to see differently and it kept me sharper. Now that I am posing, I find myself definitely showing strength in my poses. To the point of getting into poses much more difficult than I should for much longer than I should. It has gotten me into such good shape that I am getting much more toned into my 60’s than I have ever been before.
    As for the embarrassing moments that a male can only experience, I had one class that only 2 students came to. The one woman in the class asked me to pose in such a way that she only was in a position to see the reaction that she elicited by her actions. I never had this problem before, and could always talk myself down when I had spontaneous reactions. This was different and it just would not go away no matter how much I tried. It was really humiliating. I wasn’t sure if her behavior was purposeful or not and the fact that only she could see it was the reason it kept reoccurring. Never the less, I was totally embarrassed. I never thought it would happen to me. That’s life, I guess.

  14. artmodel says:

    Bruce,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your personal experiences. Sounds like that woman baited you into an embarrassing reaction! That really wasn’t very nice of her. But as you well know, art modeling brings an odd and unusual set of of “work hazards”, unlike the average profession. We have some strange things to deal with. Of course, nothing compares to the potential “male” issue with nudity. I breathe a sigh of relief that I don’t have to worry about that!

    Glad you commented. Hope to hear from you again.

    Claudia

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