The representation of the male nude in the fine arts was once viewed as the noblest of artistic endeavours. In Ancient Greece, the male physique represented a potent symbol of Greek civilization, power, and superiority. This reverence for the power of the male nude is evident in the paintings, sculptures, pottery, and other decorative arts of classical Greek culture. During the Renaissance and well into the 19th Century, the male nude was the foundation of academic art training and an important subject for many of the world’s most famous artisans.
The male nude has, however, suffered a gradual decline since its glory days when Michelangelo first unveiled his colossal masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture, "David", in 1504. The reasons for this decline are numerous and complex - involving issues relating to religion, homophobia, pornography, the dominance of the "male gaze" in art, and, perhaps to a lesser extent, the development and proliferation of visual imagery on the Internet and social media
It is against this backdrop of the gradual decline in the status of the male nude in art that I seek to create male portraits that are as beautiful as they are timeless. A return to the days when the male nude was considered the highest form of artistic expression. My hope is to make a small contribution to restoring the male nude to its rightful place in the world of fine art without resorting to the unnecessary sexualization of the men being portrayed.
Troy Schooneman, 2018