Male nude

The subject of these works is the male nude. It’s a classical genre, in the ancient Greek and Roman cultures it was likely the most important of all, beauty and value and goodness were strongly associated. Later, during the Middle Age, it almost disappears, the beauty of the naked body is replaced by the shame for it. We have to wait till Renassaice for its glorious return. Then another period of decadence of this genre, the nude body is almost entirely referred to the female nude. The role that nudity has in this history has also changed: the heroic naked body of the ancient warriors is now turned into the reification of the female body.
On the other side, male nude in recent years is always more associated with a gay-oriented perspective. Nudity has lost its innocent and original meanings and is now connected to the sexual sphere, and sin and shame are often its attributes.

Three targets

When I started depicting male nudes I had three targets in mind. First. Overcome prejudices about male nudity, release it from their negative attributes and sing their praise. Second. Free my vision from a classic view, and look for a contemporary approach to this matter. Then searching for unusual poses, and neither emphasize the genitalia like in many gay-art works nor hide them as something to be ashamed of. Living it as it is, something natural. Third. See the male nude as a mean and not as an end, then use it for different purposes and in a wider perspective.

Let’s just give a look at how I worked at these series.

My method

These series of works are the conjunction between my photos and my paintings.
In the beginning, there’s a photo. I’ve had the opportunity to know and work with many voluntary models. Most of the time we have met for the first time during the photo session. Few words, a little introduction to my work and then we could start shooting the photos. I have some ideas before to meet the model, and I try to shape it. But, most of the time, that is just a way to break the barriers and start to know each other. It’s not working on a blank canvas, the person in front of me has always a lot to give to me, and I have an obligation to try to understand more about him, to be receptive. To get a good feeling is mandatory. When the model has his own ideas, I’m always happy to listen to and to grant wishes if in accordance with my own aesthetic and principles. It’s absolutely an exchange.

It’s a dialog

I work only on my own photos, and the process is as important as the result, or better, the outcome is possible only thanks to the process.
This is the first step. I have these photos now, that are somehow searched and somehow found, and I can work on them. After a few photo editing, I can use them for different purposes, some become paintings, some photos, and some Mixed media. Let’s talk about these group of works that you find mainly in this page: the mixed media.

Mixed media

When I decide that a shoot is fine for becoming a mixed media I print it, and then I paint over the photo with acrylic colors and markers. That’s all! Sometimes the whole area is covered with the colors, sometimes some parts of the original photo are saved and untouched. The outcome is a mixture, the photo has been turned into the painting to varying degrees of transformation.

A dance between opposites

Once again there’s a dialog, now between the photo and me. I look at the image with a virgin attitude, I want it to talk to me and say something meaningful. It’s always a dance between two opposite strength. Lose and find, Idea and accident, far and close, objective and intimate. Just an example. In the torches series, Davide was walking up and down in my studio, I had switched off the lights and I was using just a small led light. I noticed those gorgeous shadows on the wall. I gave Davide a marker to hold in the hand. Afterword, on the printed photo I turned that marker into a torch and I drew a whole world of fantasy around it.In this case, the accident has been turned into a consistent project.

On the opposite for the Stein series, I painted a male icon, the kind you find in the toilets, I made it big, I wanted it to be more or less the same size of the model. Then I hung it on the wall and asked Livio to play with it. He has been absolutely fantastic, and I love the photos we took.  In this case, there’s a project at the beginning but only Livio’s improv helped me to reach the expected result.

Male nude paintings

As I mentioned before, I use the model’s photos for different purposes, they have been the starting point for the Reframing series project, I used that to create the crowded composition you can find the Happy together series, and of course in the works you can find in the Photos series. This last series, the male nude photos, share with the male nude paintings and the male nude mixed media something that at the first gaze could seem rather strange due to their different nature. Even the photos are second-hand artworks. I never use the original photos as final work, I take photos of the photos: the process is better explained in the relevant page.
All my work is about the images, it’s not a window on the world. The world is something irremediably lost, I search for traces of it, through the images, the symbols, the icons that have become our ordinary landscape. Virtuality is all around us and permeates our lives at a level that we confuse it for the reality itself.
Then the images around us can live a life of their own, completely separated from their original sources.

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Nude men are still such a controversial subject, that also the Museums encounter some problems when they try to exhibit it.

"Nude men, from 1800 to the present day", has been an amazing and discussed exhibition that offered an unprecedented overview of the depiction of male nudes in the prestigious rooms of the Leopold Museum in Wien