A standard narrative of Renaissance art uses the revival of classical antiquity to explain a new celebration of the male nude. But such an explanation often drains the erotic content from what can be highly sexualized bodies, allowing them to be naturalized under the rubric of that by now almost meaningless phrase "the heroic male nude.” Feminist interventions have carefully attended to the unclothed female, reconstructing a gendered gaze and exploring the complex webs of political and social relations that framed her. When interrogated, the male nude has most often been discussed in the specific context of homosociality and the cultural discourse that surrounded it. Despite these interventions, there still seems to remain an inability to adequately identify and articulate the strangeness of the male nude that this panel seeks to account for and overcome. Is this art historical inarticulateness a product of an inherited and unquestioned vocabulary? A modern uneasiness surrounding sexuality and the body? Or has the male nude always inhibited a full appraisal on the part of scholars, art theorists, and even its own makers? Papers would ideally handle both art historically specific cases and the corresponding methodological or historiographical issues. Particularly welcome are papers that treat Northern Europe and artists underrepresented in related literature. Please send CV and 150-word abstract to both firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com by May 15th.
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