These Stunning Images Will Change The Way You See Masculine Beauty

by Erika W. Smith

We can’t look away from these gorgeous images of masculine beauty. They’re part of the Kinsey Institute and the World Erotic Art Museum (WEAM)’s first US exhibit, “Protected Beauty.”

The exhibit, co-curated by Kinsey Institute manager of traveling exhibitions Rebecca Fasman and WEAM director Helmut Schuster, showcases images of masculine beauty from 1890 to 1982; the show is described in a statement as “an examination of controversial ideas about masculine beauty and sexuality in art.” Featured artists include Robert Mapplethorpe, Paul Cadmus, Andrey Avinoff, Michael Miksche, George Platt Lynes, Wilhelm von Gloeden, Pavel Tchelitchew and Marcel Vertes.

Marcel Vertes copyMarcel Vertes

Paul Cadmus copyPaul Cadmus

Pavel Tchelitchew copyPavel Tchelitchew

The way Alfred Kinsey viewed art was revolutionary: Although the female nude has been a mainstay of art since time immemorial, masculine beauty was rarely celebrated the same way.

“Because of overarching societal mores, the art world shunning gay artists, and the very real possibility of being fined and/or imprisoned under strict obscenity laws, the depiction of men as beautiful and desirable was nearly impossible to present to the public for a very long time,” said Fasman in a statement. “Many of the works in this exhibition came to the Kinsey Institute’s collection at a time when there were no other repositories that would accept work that presented male beauty outside of societally-accepted contexts.”

He added, “This show is WEAM’s artistic and political statement at a time when intolerance and state repressions grow all over the world.”

Michael Miksche copyMichael Miksche

Von Gloeden 265 copy 2Von Gloeden 265


You can find out more about “Protected Beauty” here and see the images in person at World Erotic Art Museum in Miami Beach, Florida, through March 1st, 2017.

Top photo: George Platt Lynes

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