An original and overdue exploration of the representation of masculinity in British academic art in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Painted Men in Britain, 1868-1918 analyzes transgressions of gender and sexuality as represented in paintings by Leighton, Sargent, Tuke, and their contemporaries in the Royal Academy. This volume treats paintings as eloquent objects, no narratives of which are too elusive to be traced, and challenges conventional binaries of masculine versus feminine or heterosexual versus homosexual. Consulting not only the paintings themselves but also newspapers, journals, criticism, novels, and poetry of the day, Painted Men argues against the misconception of British academic art as merely reactionary and even blind to the dynamism of its own time. Instead, this art is shown to engage with broader social attitudes and contemporary sexual debates. As the book reveals the complexities of specific paintings, it illuminates different and competing attitudes toward masculinity and modernity in British art of the period.
Jongwoo Jeremy Kim is Associate Professor of Art History at the Hite Art Institute, the Department of Fine Arts at the University of Louisville, USA.
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