In Focus: Robert Mapplethorpe (October 23, 2012 to March 24, 2013)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), October 23, 2012 to March 24, 2013
Open Content images tend to be large in file-size. To avoid potential data charges from your carrier, we recommend making sure your device is connected to a Wi-Fi network before downloading.
This image is available for download, without charge, under the Getty's Open Content Program.
Not currently on view
Robert Mapplethorpe (American, 1946 - 1989)
New York, New York, United States (Place created)
Gelatin silver print
38.5 x 38.7 cm (15 3/16 x 15 1/4 in.)
© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation
Jointly acquired by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, with funds provided by The David Geffen Foundation, and The J. Paul Getty Trust
The model Ken Moody poses face front, eyes closed, centered in a simple composition characteristic of the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe's clean aesthetic. His perfectly hairless head, face, and body, the result of alopecia universalis, appear to take on a sculptural weight and dimension. The dark shadows of the background seem to lap at his neck, shoulders and under his arms, as if he emerges from a timeless, dark sea. The sophisticated lighting also sculpts the curves of his face, collarbone, and chest to further heighten their elegant forms.
This figure study is part of a large body of work featuring African-American men. Mapplethorpe was absorbed by the texture and color of their skin, which he referred to as bronze. He used Agfa's Portriga 118 paper for its ability to produce the velvety texture and glow discernible in this reproduction. His strong, uncluttered compositions of statuesque male models fused a classical sensibility with homoerotic content at a time when the male nude was not a popular subject among camera artists.