An exceptional example of Edwardian pornography, this remarkably racy photograph dates to the first few years of the 20th century. Though all three men are taking part in acting out this salacious scene of explicit sexuality, only one has seen fit to remove his socks and suspenders first - something of a habit in this era : perhaps they were viewed as more erotic attire than now!
Another pair in rather covetable hats, perching atop a very odd item of furniture indeed! Note the hand-tinted blush to their cheeks, a charming habit of the portrait photographers at the time; not able to produce a believable fully coloured photograph due to the time and artistic skill it would take painting in shaded and varied tones to bring the black and white to life, they would carefully add a little soft colour here and there.
By the renowned Wilhelm von Gloeden, prolific pioneer of outdoor artistic nude photography in the late 19th Century. Long shapely legs outstretched, toned muscles held taut, this amateur model strikes his best pose and is immortalised in print; a century on I cannot help but wonder how many have beheld his fine image - more than he ever would have dreamed possible!
Wonderfully lit to highlight the defined curves of this handsome model’s magnificently built body, an unknown 19th Century photographer has captured a fantastic shot of male beauty : strong, sensual, deeply masculine.
Thomas Eakins and John Laurie Wallace pose nude by the shoreline circa 1883 - a lovely and much less often-seen shot to go with the more widely circulated rear view of the same two men,
A much-appreciated donation from generous reader Yanni, here Maurice Deriaz poses in the studio of French artist Gustave-Claude-Étienne Courtois, who painted him in 1907, 1912 and 1913. He made a magnificent model for these works, his performances and impressive physique bringing him fame across Europe, displaying feats of strength and gymnastic skill, and becoming a champion Greco-Roman wrestler. Further details of both painter and sitter can be found here, as well as the three paintings which resulted from the modelling sessions captured above.
My, what wonderfully intense eyes has the fellow on the left! I’d love to know more about the origin of this photograph, or the handsome sitters in it - perhaps to those with a more trained eye than mine, their clothes may offer clues to their likely nationality or location? Do let me know if you have any guesses, and I will be pleased to add them to this post!
One of a series of academic nudes by Max Koch and Otto Rieth, Germany, 1884/5, distinctive for their unusual (and sometimes surprisingly modern) poses, and clever use of mirrors to provide various views of the same model.
A simply sublime example of Wilhelm von Gloeden’s work, two of Taormina’s finest inhabitants stand for the camera, one posed to show off his body with pride, the other favouring casual effortless elegance. Take a closer look at the lovely long legs of the young man on the right : the telltale pale streaks give away one of von Gloeden’s trade secrets - a mixture of pigment and oil which was applied to the amateur models’ bodies, to even out skintone and disguise the tan lines gained in their everyday lives, so nothing could detract from their beauty, or spoil the classical look he aimed for.
From L’Etude Academique, published in Paris, 1904, by A. Vignola - a variety of nude studies evoking various moods and scenes, intended to aid artists with their work.
One of the few Plüschow photographs where the model’s name is recorded, and one of his most striking images of all - the handsome young man who poses with such charismatic confidence is called Pietro. We’ve seen him before, here, where the same piece of striped fabric is swathed around his waist.
George Mallory c1912
Famous mountaineer, died on Everest 1924. Pictured in the studio of Duncan Grant, his lover.
A photograph of poignant beauty, knowing his fate; his last resting place the mountain he famously wished to climb ‘because it’s there’.
Way back in the formative months of this collection, I posted a photograph of a French fellow with a splendid curled moustache; imagine my delight to discover a second shot from the same 1910 studio session! Again, his image has been altered with a notable example of early editing, colour carefully scratched away to resemble a wisp of white fabric protecting his modesty.
Donated by John, who has kindly added several new images by von Gloeden to this collection; he included comprehensive information which I shall quote in full rather than paraphrase :
"…it is entitled ‘Punishment’ for obvious reasons. It seems these buttocks are to be caned.
It is from a private collection, from a silvered salt proof, printed on matte paper, catalogue # 1160, and rather precisely dated as 1898.”
A stunning portrait of Antonio Cesarini, known to those who loved him (including the painter Jaques d’Adelswärd-Fersen) as Nino, photographed by Guglielmo Plüschow on the terrace of Villa Lysis, Capri. A timeless masculine beauty, made truly everlasting in these bewitching photographs from around 1905 - this is an especially large and lovely copy, do click through for a closer look!
I’ve featured a version of this image before, usually I endeavour to avoid repeats but this time I think you may agree it worthwhile : in my first copy there was some careful editing to preserve his modesty with a deep darkened shadow, here we see the unspoilt original.