From classic Grecian statuary to heavily abstracted modern interpretations, the male form as sculpture has been an integral part of the world of art. Especially from the ancient Roman and Greek periods but also later periods of interest in the early 20th century when the human form took on a stylized appearance, the topic being visually approached has been status. However that in and of itself has shifted consistently throughout history.
Photographer: Fail’ Orion
Fashion Designer: George Black
Model: Arthur Likhosherst
The History of Masculinity
In the historic sense of masculinity, it has been money rather than muscle that tended to be the defining feature. Status has been the determining factor in the defining of men sufficiently of note to be immortalized.
We would assume that in the days of pre-civilization where brute strength was key to protecting family and tribe, masculinity was defined as physical strength and muscle—today more commonly understood as a symbol of virile masculinity. However, in later “genteel” eras, the ideal male anatomy would be considered entirely differently. More slack because he does no physical work; pale, because he has not toiled in the sun; and tall because he is well-nourished. Again, the shift to modern day where most people have more than they need, an excess even, it is the body that pairs with a disciplined mind to work at sculpting the human form that is coveted.
From Michelangelo to Canova to Warhol, the study of the male form in art is a depiction of movement, of biology and science, of health and fitness
, of political structure and, essentially, of humanity. A way of suggestion that are only possible to express through visual media. As opposed to the female representations, which tended to showcase a range of emotions and beauty, the male form is typically representative of power and stature. However, when we allow for vulnerability, that is when the form transcends the dialog of the mediocre and truly becomes art.