Representations of the male figure in art are far less common than works depicting women. A long history of straight men dominating the art world has led to many images of winsome women, but fewer of beautiful men (I’ve written on this subject before; if you’d like to read more about the lack of male figures in art check it out here).
Every Female Gaze Friday I will post a woman-created work of art depicting a man—one small act to reverse the male gaze! Not all images will be provocative, many will be nonsexual or even disturbing. Hopefully this will be a way of learning more about women artists (as well as looking at dudes)!
This week’s piece is At the Turkish Bath by feminist painter Sylvia Sleigh:
Sylvia Sleigh, At The Turkish Bath, 1976, oil on canvas, 76″x100″
Notably active in the 1970s, Sleigh created works that reversed artistic tradition by depicting men in poses associated with women (This seems like an excellent moment to link to “What If the Male Avengers Posed Like the Female Ones?“). In fact, this piece references Ingres’s 1862 painting The Turkish Bath:
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, The Turkish Bath, 1862, oil on wood, 43″x43″
At the Turkish Bath is the first Sleigh piece I’d ever seen and is still on view at the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art. Sleigh works her husband into the painting as the reclining man.
As a bonus piece for Female Gaze Friday, we have Sleigh’s work Philip Golub Reclining:
Sylvia Sleigh, Philip Golub Reclining, 1971
This painting is a gender-reversed version of the Rokeby Venus by Velázquez. It’s also an intriguing example of a work representing a clothed female artist and a nude male model (I’ve written about the trend of clothed male artists and nude female models before).
Check back on Fridays for more images of men by women. And feel free to suggest works of art or artists in the comments!
Take a look at our previous Female Gaze Friday: Sarah Faux’s Man in Bed.