A striking picture of von Gloeden’s Il Grande Fauno (the Great Faun), circa 1895. Where other photographs of this model posing in character appear innocent, detached stern expressions interspersed with the occasional friendly smile, in this there’s a distinct leaning toward celebrating the sensuality and eroticism of both his character, and his proudly displayed body, bare under hot bright sun.
A further addition to the 1855 set of reference photographs taken by Jean Louis Marie Eugène Durieu, for the famed artist Eugène Delacroix.
An early 20th century male nude by Guglielmo Plüschow, his typical set-dressing with patterned carpet and fabric making a fine backdrop to the timeless masculine beauty of his models.
Published as a postcard circa 1910, this sandalled strongman leaves nothing to chance in protecting his modesty, and wears a large paper leaf, thoroughly secured with plenty of string!
Though very similar to this other photograph by von Gloeden, the mood here is changed entirely - no peace and gentleness in the model’s pose, the addition of some dark stain to represent blood spilling beneath his fingers.
What a beautiful classically-inspired scene from von Gloeden; quite typical of his work, and quite lovely!
A second artist’s reference image of this tall and well-toned model posing for Jacques de Lalaing, some time in the 1880s or 1890s. This print has been neatly drawn over with a grid pattern, which proves its former usefulness to the artist, even if it does distract somewhat from the aesthetic appeal of the shot, and the model’s good looks!
Four confident and classically elegant models clasp hands and pose in leafy unspoilt countryside, for the camera of Guglielmo Plüschow around the turn of the last century - could they be the same group seen enjoying a similar setting in this photograph?
The Martyrdom of St Sebastian, by Oscar Rejlander circa 1867 - the earliest photographic representation of this saint in my collection, all three gathered here.
A skilfully composed garden scene by Wilhelm von Gloeden, taken toward the end of the 19th century at his villa in Taormina, Sicily.
A deliciously explicit addition to my collection of early-1900s photographs featuring the incomparable Il Serpente, ‘The snake’ - the most naturally blessed and beautifully, brazenly seductive of all Vincenzo Galdi’s models.
One of von Gloeden’s most recognisable models, the charming Pascquale Stracuzzi or ‘Pasqualino’ (right), in a very similar pose to this beautiful photograph, but here having gained an equally graceful and good-looking companion.
A further page of Louis Jean-Baptiste Igout’s reference photographs for artists, published between 1870 and 1880 by A. Calavas as an affordable and convenient alternative to life models, and especially useful for amateur artists working at home.
The magnificent Eugen Sandow, photographed here in 1894 by George Steckel, his physique looking every bit as impressive to a modern eye as it would have to his contemporaries.