Friday, May 7, 2010


HAHA, so i found out this paper i wrote for my art class... apparently not a big deal cuz I FUCKING ACED IT. So since my sex life has been nill lateley due to work (fuck yes i got a job!) and School (fuck yes i have a 3.5 GPA!) i thought this update would be giving you this paper i aced.

Also, this weekend is celebratory... might hang with flyboy again :D

Quick note, this paper was written in about 1 hour before class. IT was a comparitive essay so we had to find a yardstick and compare and contrast 2 works of art. Both of these works can be seen at LACMA (Los Angeles County Musuem of Art). I am actually wondering what people think of it, i think she just gave me an A cuz she was tired of reading papers.

The Unchanging Standards of Masculinity In Art

Masculinity, and its counterpoint femininity, is one of the few things in society that has not changed in the thousands of years of society. Society has changed, it has changed the rules and dictated importance away from men being more masculine, but that does not negate its impact (Tiger). Masculinity is typically shown by strength: strength of character, physical strength and emotional strength (Gilmore). Physical strength is the easiest to visualize, and unfortunately the one that is most commonly shown as masculinity. Physical masculinity shows itself in both the holders’ sexual prowess, muscles and ability to fight large beasts or an unstoppable enemy. Physical strength also can tie into the other 2, especially if the person is fighting an unstoppable enemy, the physical shows he has the physical strength, his act of being there shows emotional strength (courage) and his strength of character depends on what he is fighting and your point of view. Artists understood this fundamental basis of masculinity, and showed it in their art. The ideal of true masculinity has remained almost unchanged in art for over 2500 years.

The Bateman Mercury is one of the oldest surviving Greek replicas. It is a roman re-production of the Greek god Hermes (Bateman Mercury). After the Romans conquered Greece, they stole most of their religion re-named most of the gods, in Hermes case his name changed to Mercury. Mercury is normally depicted as an athletic beardless youth (Atsma), showing the root of masculinity. He is also the herald of the Gods, showing strength of character that he can be trusted by Zeus (roman: Jupiter).

The Mercury shows off his masculine credentials in a few ways. His winged helmet indicates a certain amount of combat readiness. He shows a strong body in the defined muscles of his shoulders, chest, stomach and legs. He is nude, one of the ways men like to show off their masculinity, being nude in the presence of other men to show off their physical size (this manifests today in the locker rooms at gym, however briefly they may be nude). This masculinity is juxtaposed onto a very feminine pose, with his left arm to his lower back and his right arm supposedly leaning on a column. However this effeminacy may be a result of us not seeing his arms, as they have been broken off, and the fact we do not know what else was around the Mercury statue in roman times. In my personal opinion I like to think of his missing arm holding a football, or doing something physical.

The Bateman Mercury is a great show of the Romans filling their cities with sculptures of masculine men as gods. It was part of their warrior culture, to conquest new lands they needed strong men to fight. They also needed men of strong character to work in the markets, men of intellect to design new buildings and help solve Rome’s ever present housing shortage. The same could be said of Europe in the early 20th century. Before the Second World War, much of Europe, like Rome before it, was busy controlling its colonies. This colonialism required young men to join the military and fight for the interests of its homeland. Whether they agreed with colonialism or not, many artists of the time helped re-enforce the romantic vision of soldiers going to war. Many went back to the Greek and roman form of nude males fighting to help show this masculine ideal. One of the most famous was Auguste Rodin, who showed males almost exclusively in the nude, but one of his students would create a sculpture that would truly show off a celebration of masculinity.

Antoine Bourdelle first started working for Rodin in 1893. Their work together on The Gates, Rodin’s sculpture of a great door (Tancock) would help cement the two as friends. Rodin taught Bourdelle how to sculpt, and how to really view the world in an almost exaggerated manner. This exaggeration is felt very strongly in the work Herkales: the Archer. Rodin’s influence is everywhere in the sculpture. To start, Herkales unusual pose takes advantage of Rodins pioneering work of not putting people on pedestals. Instead herkales fires from giant rocks, put in a perch to give maximum firepower and control from his bow. His large muscles bulge all over his body showing he both exhibits Physical Strength, but the angle of his bow also suggests that what he is firing at is larger than him, which takes both strength of character and emotional strength. He is nude, which is how males would choose to fight if given the chance, the only piece of clothing looks to be a helmet. The most striking thing about the Herkales sculpture is just size. If Herkales were not in that combat situation, he looks like he would still be the guy at the gym lifting a whole rack of weights. The definition in the shoulders, arms and especially the forearm of his left arm is impressive. His chest and stomach are equally defined, and his legs are something bodybuilders work years for. In short, Herkales looks like he could beat the crap out of everyone and everything he came across.

Masculinity may be an ideal, but like all ideals many fall short. Luckily masculinity comes built in with its very own yardstick to compare. The Bateman Mercury is not a guy to mess with to be sure, but I think if most guys had to get into a physical altercation (for many the best test of physical strength) they would prefer to take Mercury to Herkales. In the strength of character department, while Mercury looks like he would fight for what he believes in, utilizing his physical and emotional strength, herkales shows that in the act, proving without a shadow of a doubt he will fight for what he believes in, be it food, freedom or women, he will fight for those things which does show him to be more of a man than mercury.

Masculinity is an ideal to be held to. We all fall short many times, but art does a good job of reminding us what that ideal is. It can be as simple as a United States Marine Corps recruitment add, or a sculpture of herkales firing his bow, or even mercury leaning on a column, it all helps to build in a man’s mind that he must be held to a standard higher than he holds himself. Modern society may try to rid the world of masculinity and violence, but it is those things that help men learn their place, and work to improve their lot in life. Without the masculine drive, and without the push for strength in every area of their lives, men would become women and the fragile balance that holds our sexes together would crumble.


Bi Slut in big D said...

VERY nicely done! do you think, as I do, that there has been a shift in the perception of masculinity in recent decades? I personally believe that much of that shift is due to the rise of women as driving the perception of masculinity. I'm in no way a "metro" kind of guy, but I see the pressure at work all the time to be more effeminate. I am often seen as threatening, primarily as I'm a very strong male presence in a primarily female dominated workplace. In fact, women have (at least for us married guys) taken over the determination of when and how we will have sex. Roles appear to have shifted, at least to me. I wonder....Could that be part of the reason there are so many "bi", "str8" guys lurking on craigslist???

Skippy said...

one of the unintended consequences of the sexual revolution of the 60's and 70's was that instead of pushing equality (legality under law for equal opertunity) it tried to push sameness (equality of results). In alot of ways women find they dont need men, or that men are wrong in every context. Look at most TV adds these days, you will find a strong confident woman and a bumbling man. Whats worse, the natural insticts of male and female biology are being swept under the rug by the feminazis. And yes the metrosexual ideal comes from women. Gay men were told they were not real men, so they started acting like women and eventually became women without vaginas. therefore the gay push as well as the female dominance of getting rid of what men love... our pubes and our chest hair... has been the physical show of the emotional castration we have all suffered. I think its a good reason why all these straight and bi guy guys are on CL

Kenneth said...

I have a BA in Art History...i have a hundred comments and one MAJOR thing I would have mentioned to really knock your professor on his or her ass. Tired though and shared enough thoughts tonight :)