Representation of Male Bodies in Ancient Art: Rapport with Bonfante & Winters (850 words)

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Question

The representation of the male body was a central theme in both Irene Winter’s and Larissa Bonfante’s articles.
How did each author deal with this question in relation to objects we have studied in this course?
Do you find either, neither, or both of them to be convincing, and if so, why or why not?

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The Representation of Male Bodies in Ancient Art: A Rapport with Bonfante and Winters

Bonfante illustrates the emergence of male bodies as idealized forms of beauty teased out of the tension between nakedness and nudity, while Irene Winters traces the image of gods and kings and male nudes as born out of regal representations of sexuality and vigor. Bonfante cites a distinction between “nude” and “naked” in her article that can be applied in a useful way to how we think about representations of male bodies in art. Naked connotes being exposed. To be naked is to be caught off guard. For example, when someone walks into the bathroom while you are taking a shower, and the shower curtain is drawn, an immediate response would be to cover yourself. We associate nakedness to shame, for example, in dreams when the dreamer is naked in the classroom, and everyone around her is clothed. Bonfante makes the claim that nudity as clothing and has been transformed over against conventional forms of nakedness that engendered shame and exposure to a form of dress that signified the ideal nature of beauty itself. Nudity is also deeply related to magic powers, and the exposure of the phallus was like revealing a hidden, secretive power of male sexuality....

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