Anatomy is something I have spent insufficient time studying. I spent a year at university studying chemically why, when heated, or chilled, or soaked, food does what it does and tastes as it tastes. In my stupefaction I never thought to relate such a study to the male nude. Unlike Leonardo I have rarely thought of anatomy and its importance to the male nude I am beholding. Call me superficial, but you would be wrong.
Many years ago, in the house of two eclectic guys I well remember perching nervously on the edge of a stupendously expensive designer chair worrying that the studs on my jeans would snag on the fabric. It was that sort of chair that is not only classic design, but is, I guess if actually relaxing on, (not that I will ever know) arguably comfortable. The house was too elegant for me to be able to fully relax in and my hosts, although well meaning made me incredibly nervous. In front of me was a wall of books, each on the male nude. More titles than I could comprehend had been published and were sitting on the shelves. Each spine inviting me to grab the book and devour the contents. There were more titles than I had ever dreamt possible. My eyes flicked through ‘cock culture’ ‘twins’ ‘the perfect penis’ ‘my leather life’ and innumerable works of a huge selection of international photographers.
Later, I was encouraged to dip into at least some of these books and to marvel at their contents. I pored over photos and drawings by Van Gloden, Platt Lynes, Mapplethorpe, Paul Cadmus, Beaton, Tom of Finland et al. Each artist special in his own way. Daring, courageous, edgy. All bringing out in their individual method the beauty of the male nude. These artists not only carefully lit their subject, but also took time to bring out the best in their sitter. They then meticulously re-touched their published images. They spent patient hours professionally and skilfully bringing out the best in the images of their sitters. It was all dedication and lots and lots of time.
I am guilty of wasting time staring at social media. I pore over images that are airbrushed. Bodies beautiful and oh so, so, perfect. Guys have gym bunny physique and flawless skin. Sadly it is unusual to see a male nude that is anything but androgynously airbrushed. The add on airbrush, blemish removing apps are available to us all, and boy oh boy they all get used. I despair of Grindr and Scruff, apps of physcial airbrushing gone wild. The reality all too frequently bearing no comparison with the image. Where are the real men?
The real men are here at Bellaugello. Please do not think to come here you have to be airbrush abbed, you certainly don’t. I have long realised that the joy of the male nude is in its infinite variety of natural form, its blemishes, wobbles, and imperfections. My eye appreciates natural form in a natural setting. The swimming pool and grounds here at Bellaugello are places where the male nude are encountered. No airbrush, no re-touching, just real flesh and in its many shapes, sizes and colours. Some are slim, some are not, some tall, others short, some hirsute, others not. Bellies range from ginormous through cute and dinky to toned and abbed. Some nudes droop, others are firm, but whatever the shape, all are accepted and mix in a true harmony. It is stunning, sensual, so, so beautiful.