It’s a “Friends Friday” look at the Flandrin pose.

On Thursday, when David and Ben did the post about the passing of Beto’s grandmother, they included four pics that are evocative of the Flandrin pose. It’s an artistic pose originally associated with a painting by Hippolyte Flandrin of a boy sitting nude on a rock with his arms wrapped around his legs and his head resting on his knees. It’s pic #1 here. The painting (from around 1835) is now on display in the Louvre in Paris. It’s a pose that has probably been used hundreds of thousands of times by various artists and photographers – and obviously has homosexual overtones. We thought you might enjoy seeing a variety of pics – at least loosely associated with the pose. While it’s on our minds, we want to join the members of our URD family in expressing our condolences to Beto. We love you, babe.
Rick and Keon

Study (Flandrin)
From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core

Study (Young Male Nude Seated beside the Sea) (French: Jeune Homme nu assis au bord de la mer, figure d’étude) is a painting by Hippolyte Flandrin executed between 1835 and 1836. Flandrin had won France’s Prix de Rome in 1832, a bursary which provided the winner with a trip to Rome to concentrate on their vocation. There, Flandrin produced this study, which he sent back to Paris in 1837, in fulfillment of the bursary’s requirements for the student to submit works in the tradition of various genres. In 1857, Napoleon III purchased the painting, which is now in the collection of Paris’s Louvre.

The painting gained attention among contemporary French art critics, and remains one of Flandrin’s best-known works, despite being produced relatively early in his career. The subject is an unidentified youth, an “ephebe”,[1] who sits nude on a rock with his arms wrapped around his legs and his head resting on his knees, eyes closed. There is a sea in the background, and no distinguishable landmarks locate the figure. The enigmatic scene provides no explanation for the figure’s pose: Théophile Gautier (1811–1872) commented that the young man could be shipwrecked on a deserted island, or be a shepherd who has lost his flock. Ultimately, any explanation for this scene is left to the imagination, leading to comparisons with Surrealist art in the twentieth century.[2]

In examining the influence of German aesthetic theory on French art, critic Elizabeth Prettejohn finds that the roundedness of form and “flawless” modeling of flesh would have met with Johann Joachim Winckelmann’s approval as an examplar of the beautiful. Prettejohn compares the figure’s almost circular pose and sparse framing with that of Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man.

Photograph after Flandrin’s study by Wilhelm von Gloeden
Vital to the painting’s spread were reproductions based on an 1887 engraving by Jean-Baptiste Danguin that was commissioned by the state. As awareness of the work grew, the painting became an icon of homosexual culture in the 20th century, although the work would not have been intended to evoke such a theme. The scene is intimate, yet the figure is, according to one author, “self-absorbed, passive, alienated—undoubtedly contribut[ing] to the persistence of certain homophobic clichés.”[3] Photographers Marcel Moore and Claude Cahun adopted the pose in a photograph of the lesbian Cahun, c. 1911. The painting was similarly evoked in early twentieth-century art photography by F. Holland Day and Wilhelm von Gloeden, and later by Robert Mapplethorpe.[4]

7 comments to It’s a “Friends Friday” look at the Flandrin pose.

  • Tim from MO

    Rick, and Keon:
    Wow….what a stunning collection of art! I love the theme, and all the assorted photos, and paintings.
    I have some secluded outdoor locations that I like to go to, just to get away for a time, and enjoy the quiet solitude with nature.
    Interestingly enough, I’ve often ended up sitting in this very position. It’s very relaxing to me. On occasion, I’ll strip down to nothing, which enhances the experience.

    Thank you guys, for the beautiful post!

  • Jingle

    How wonderful!!

    Love all these, but none so much as the original!! I’ve been privileged to see it several times while in Paris…

    And I have a rather large lithograph of it hanging in my bedroom!!

  • Denny

    The feeling this post brings to mind for me is total serenity – calmness, tranquility, and peace.

    I love the original, but I love it also with the crimson blush filter, in #26.

    Another representation of the pose I like a lot here is #21, who I imagine to be a young farmboy, enjoying the feel of a cool summertime rain falling on him while he enjoys the unique sound of that rain on the tin roof of the barn.

    Thank you, Rick, for this captivating and magnificent post, AND, for putting it into the tags for future enjoyment as well!!

  • Brad

    A phenomenal post, Keon and Rick! I have always enjoyed men in the Flandrin pose. This pose suggests a sense of introspection and reflection, which makes each of these very intriguing.

    Looking forward to next week’s Friends Friday post. Thanks again!

  • bw

    I must not have been paying attention during my one art appreciation course, because until Rick educated me today, I had never heard of this pose. It’s a particularly effective pose for artists who appreciate male beauty. And as an old reprobate, I find the ones where the naughty bits are visible really beautiful.
    I really look forward to these posts – thanks Rick & Keon.

  • Kent

    Thank you Rick and Keon, for your time putting together this art lesson for us. I’ve always found boys/men portrayed in the Flandrin pose provocative to my imagination; is the boy sad, hurt, contemplative, resting, lonely, or meditating. My reaction is usually a reflection of my current mood.


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