The Male Nude on Exhibit at Musee d’Orsay in Paris

Abel by Camille Félix Bellanger. Image provided by Musee d'Orsay

Abel by Camille Félix Bellanger. Image provided by Musee d’Orsay

The male body is on full display in France.

A new exhibit titled Masculine/Masculine has just opened at Musee d’Orsay in Paris. It prompts visitors to consider the many ways in which the male body has been presented as art in the past two hundred years. The collection shows a breadth of artistic style, medium, and form incorporating the naked male body.

Male nudity was “the basis of traditional Academic art training” (evoking that classic image of college students tracing a figure from a pedestal) and “a key element in Western creative art” from the 17th-19th centuries according to the museum’s website. Museum officials cite an opening last year in Vienna as the first exhibition to focus exclusively on the male nude, though female figures often receive such treatment.

With representations from the late 1800s to present day, curators aimed to show male nudity in a bold new way—and all at once. The exhibit features work in graphic arts, painting, sculpture, and photography.

“The paradox is that we think we live in a very liberated society but the male nude still troubles people,” said Xavier Rey, a curator quoted in The Telegraph in discussing the inspiration for the exhibit. The same article mentions homoeroticism as a theme and “thread” throughout the exhibit.

Curious? Make your way to Paris before January 2nd, 2014 to catch a glimpse.

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