Neapolitan Fisherboy

Neapolitan Fisherboy Playing with a Tortoise
by
François Rude (1784 – 1855)
Marble, 1831-1833 | Louvre, Paris

Rudes great success dates from 1833, when he received the cross of the Legion of Honour for his statue of a Neapolitan Fisher Boy playing with a Tortoise (now in the Louvre), which also procured for him the important commission for all the sculptural frieze ornament and one group on the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris. [Source: Wikipedia]

I felt in love with neoclassical sculputures when I saw this boy in Paris on a school trip. I was 14 and too young (I guess) to get excited about paintings but these plastic boys got my attention immediately. I stood there in front of this boy with mixed feelings… his face, his look was so natural… it was kinda spooky in a good, a wonderful way. On the other hand I felt a bit guilty cause I thought everybody who’s seeing me standing there had to think I’m just looking at his dick xD

This cheerful boy, playing with a tortoise held captive by a reed, caused heated controversy at the Salon of 1833. For the first time, an artist had sculpted a lifesize marble of a picturesque figure, an anecdotal subject. It marked a complete break with classical ideology, whereby genre scenes were considered to be unworthy of statuary art, especially in a medium as noble as marble. Rude’s theme and style also contradicted classical canons. Although reminiscent of antique sculpture, the work was imbued with an unprecedented feeling of freedom and freshness. The boy is naked like the heroes of mythology, but his body is not idealized and his hearty laugh reveals his teeth, a real breach of good taste. The tradition of representing children at play did exist in Hellenistic sculpture, but Rude emphasized the popular, lively aspect of his depiction. The child seated on a net is a young fisher boy, whose bonnet and scapular (the devotional object around his neck) show that he is from Naples. His attitude is carefree and his entire face – crinkled eyes, dimples, open mouth – is laughing.  [Louvre]
 

  

8 thoughts on “Neapolitan Fisherboy”

  1. Niedlich, aber 0 erotisch. Nix für die Milkboys. Sonst gibts hier bald auch Fotos von Knut und Flocke…

  2. Es geht ja auch nicht vordergründig um Erotik sondern… ach was geb ich mir Mühe es zu verbergen… das Motto ist von Destroyer geklaut ;o)

    Apollonian Beauty and Dionysian Homosexuality

    Also nicht nur Sex sondern auch Schönheit die nichts mit körperlichem Begehren zu tun hat.

  3. "everybody who’s seeing me standing there had to think I’m just looking at his dick"

    Weren't you? I was.

  4. Erotik ist doch nicht gleichbedeutend mit Sex! Und doch muss die Schönheit mich anrühren, damit ich sie als erotisch empfinde. Schön sind auch Pferde oder Hunde. Oder Frauen. Empfinde ich jemanden als erotisch, empfinde ich ihn als sinnlich, dies hat jedoch nicht automatisch etwas mit körperlichem Begehren zu tun…

    Ausserdem tut mir die Schildkröte leid.

  5. "Es geht ja auch nicht vordergründig um Erotik sondern… ach was geb ich mir Mühe es zu verbergen… das Motto ist von Destroyer geklaut ;o)

    Apollonian Beauty and Dionysian Homosexuality

    Also nicht nur Sex sondern auch Schönheit die nichts mit körperlichem Begehren zu tun hat."

    Recht hast du, Josh. Man begegnet, wenn man offen durch die Lande geht, immer wieder kleinen Kunstwerken, seien es Statuen, Reliefe oder Bilder, die Jungen in ihrer ganzen Natürlichkeit zeigen, manchmal eingebettet in eine Szene, manchmal für sich allein stehend. Da muss ich auch immer wieder stehen bleiben und sie bewundern. Da läuft dann bei mir kein Kopfkino ab, sondern ich erfreue mich an ihrer Schönheit. Würde gern hier was beitragen in diesem Zusammenhang, aber weiß nicht, wie.

    Interessant dabei ist, dass stilistisch sehr ähnliche Werke mit anderen Themen (Frauen, Männer oder auch kleine Kinder) bei mir nicht mal annähernd das selbe Interesse hervorrufen. Es sind schon die Jungen, die mich ansprechen, in ihrer Gesamtheit.

    Mit den Bildern oben hat Josh genau meinen Kunstgeschmack getroffen, insofern mindestens für mich sehr hübsche milkboys eingestellt. Nicht erotisch, aber wunderschön.

    Aber Optimist, du hast in einem recht: Die Schildkröte tut mir auch leid.

  6. I had the same reaction to the middle statue. I saw a reproduction at my local library when I was mayde 13 or so. He got my attention. He was so beautiful I remember wishing he were real so we could be special friends. The dreams, and yearnings of very young Queer boys. Some one ought to write a serious book, play, or movie about it.

  7. I wonder, The sculptors name is Rude? I wonder if that is perhaps where the word came from in English. If what he did was considered controversial at the time, I can see this as a possibility. So perhaps his name became synonymous with things that were considered impolite, thereby someone”coined” the phrase. “Don’t be rude.” in his honour. Or am I just looking for connections where there couldn’t be one? Philology is something I find fascinating. Now I must look into this.

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