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Male Nudes in Arts

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I've always wondered why some people -- or even nations -- seem very prude about Nudes on Stamps, given that "of course" we are speaking about female nudes!! Why not the same purist attitude towards male nudes on stamps ?  The male body has been depicted uncountable times on paintings and in sculptures by such renowned artists as Praxiteles, Michelangelo, Durer, and many others.  What concerns Michelangelo, his paintings are at permanent display in the Vatican, others are at display in such respectable museums as the Louvre (Paris), The Hermitage in St. Petersburg, and yet nobody has ever declared these artworks obscene for use on postage stamps ... 

Greece 1896. Nudes. Hermes Statue by Praxiteles.

Praxiteles (c. 390-c. 330 BC), was a Greek sculptor, and considered the greatest of his time.  He is said to have lived in Athens about 360 BC.  Praxiteles worked almost entirely in marble.  His work is known only through Roman copies, and in the form of a marble statue, the Hermes with the Infant Dionysus (c. 340 BC).  It was discovered in 1877 during the excavation of the Temple of Hera at Olympia, in Greece, where it had been seen in ancient times by the Roman traveller and chronicler Pausanias.  The best known of the Roman copies is the Aphrodite of Cnidus (Museo Pio-Clementino, Vatican City). 

  • Greece 1896.  Hermes Statue by Praxiteles. 

The work of Praxiteles shows a humanization in the ideals of the Attic period of Greek art. His subjects are either human beings or the more youthful and less awe-inspiring deities, such as Aphrodite, goddess of love, Apollo, god of music and prophecy, and Hermes, messenger of the gods.   The stamp shows the God Hermes, carrying the infant Arcas.  

  • Greece 1911. Scott # 211. 

Greece 1911. Nudes. Scott # 211.

Denmark 1938. Nudes. The Janus-statue by Bertel Thorvaldsen (Danish sculptor).

The Faeroe Islands 1938. Nudes. War cover (censored mail). Janus with the Golden Fleece by Bertel Thorvaldsen.

Also my native Denmark has contributed to the art world of male nudes on stamps.  The world famous Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844), whose statues are scattered all over Europe, e.g. Copenhagen (Denmark),  Warsaw (Poland), Luzern (Switzerland), Rome (Italy).  His breakthrough came in 1803 with the Statue of Janus, shown on the stamp and cover above.  

Sweden 1980. Nudes. "The Naked Boy in Trollhättan" by Ernst Josephsson.

Ernst Josephsson is one of Sweden's most famous painters, with an enormous production behind him.  He painted mostly romantic paintings, inspired by the mythological world.  this painting shows "The Naked Boy in Trollhättan" [Waterfalls by the Göta Canal].  The boy is playing a string instrument, and one can only guess what is on his mind, as he sits there in the whirling waters, playing his instrument.  The stamp is engraved by Czeslaw Slania.  The painting belongs to Waldemarsudde Museum, Stockholm. 
  • Sweden 1980.   Ernst Josephsson, Swedish painter, (1851-1906): 
    "The Naked Boy in Trollhättan" (1884).  

The stamp shows the Greek mythological figure "Endymion", a beautiful youth who was loved by the moon goddess Selene.  She put him to sleep forever, so that she could always enjoy his beauty.  The sculpture belongs to the King Gustav III Museum of Antiquities, Stockholm (Sweden).  The stamp is engraved by Czeslaw Slania.

  • Sweden 1997.  "Endymion".  

Sweden 1997. Nudes. "Endymion".

Below are two perceptions of Adam by two world famous artists, the Italian Michelangelo (1475-1564) and the German Albrecht Durer (1471-1528). 

Paraguay 1978. Nudes. Copper etching by Albrecht Dürer.

USSR 1975. Nudes. Michelangelo. "The Creation" (fragment)-.

Rwanda 1971. Nudes. "Adam" by Albrecht Dürer.

Belgium 1962. Nudes. Michelangelo. "The Creation" (fragment). Sweden 1985. Nudes. "Dying Otryades" by Johan Tobias Sergel (Swedish sculptor).

USSR 1975. Nudes. Sculptures by Michelangelo. Rebellious Slave.

USSR 1975. Nudes. Sculptures by Michelangelo. Squatting Boy.

USSR 1975. Nudes. Sculptures by Michelangelo. David.

USSR 1975.  Three sculptures by Michelangelo. 


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