men_in_full: (Default)
Long-time readers know how much I love the "Ghost of Christmas Present," because so much of him hearkens back to the green spirit of the ancient Yule celebration, so often represented by a fat man. So here's a lovely "Christmas Present" from me to you.

Click to enlarge.

men_in_full: (more devos)

Detail from Triumph of Bacchus and Ariadne, c. 1675, Giovanni Battista Gaulli (1639–1709)

Two more, SFW )

men_in_full: (rubens bacchus)

“Bacchus,” by Jan van Dalen (c. 1620-c. 1653, Flemish) 1648 (link)
(click to enlarge)

Two more, both SFW )

men_in_full: (de vos bacchus pinch)
There's something about guys getting dirty, whether it's through work or play, especially when they're rolling around in the mud. I guess I got inspired by my back yard, which has been underwater for weeks.

(link, NSFW text. Click to enlarge.)

Two more, NSFW )

Earlier "Men of Earth" (also NSFW)

men_in_full: (iz back)

Earth, water, fire and air
Met together in a garden fair
Put in a basket bound with skin
If you answer this riddle
You'll never begin

- "Koeeoadi There," by The Incredible String Band

In the old Norse myths, the world was created from the body of the giant Ymir, whose bones became the rocks and whose hair the forests. The Greeks told of the giant Antaeus, whose vast strength persisted as long as he kept even one foot in contact with Mother Earth. The power of the large male body in these photos is reflected in the rocks and earth which surround them; in the mud which clings to them.

"Osos en el Bosque," by Mushu73 on flickr

Men of Earth, one is NSFW )

Earlier elementals:

men_in_full: (Default)
I found these shots of this guy on I'm not sure why they included him over there not once, but three or four times. No one else got that treatment; maybe somebody liked him (LOL). It was apparently taken at some street fair, somewhere; I don't know when.

Bacchic energy!

Three more, one not SFW ... )

ETA: If I would have been regularly reading Chubarama, I'd have known that this fine fellow is Darren (Dale) Mabee, of the band We Are the Seahorses. Apparently he is quite as bacchanalian as I suspected.

men_in_full: (de vos bacchus pinch)
[ profile] jennie_jay in the comment thread directly below mentioned the "restrained Bacchus" of Disney's Fantasia:
Disney's "Fantasia" contains a (restrained) Bacchanal, with a rather stereotyped Bacchus. The original sketches were much better than the final result we see in the film. I've got a book about the making of "Fantasia", will try to scan some of the illustrations.... and the "centaurettes" have nipples in the original rough-outs, too! A far cry from the saccharine final look.

She sent some sketches and pastel storyboards, which show a freer, more abandoned Bacchus (especially in the last image, where he forms the centerpiece for a swirling mass of centaur dancers.

Click for concept/character sketch details.

More below the cut... )
men_in_full: (Default)
Ho-tei is one of the "seven lucky gods" of Japan. He's often shown carrying a bag of gifts, and has a fan which is supposed to grant wishes.

Because he's called "Budai" in Chinese, he's become confused with the Buddha, but the two aren't the same. Some think he was based on a 10th century Chinese Buddhist monk named Kaishi, which may also contribute to the confusion. My guess is that his fatness points to an older, archetypal figure whose size was equated with abundance, generosity, and good humor.

Sometimes he's also shown with children crawling all over him, and occasionally children even come out of his goodie bag. This may point to fertility, but also may simply reflect the observation that a lot of young children really like fat people, want to climb up onto their lap, and so on.

"Laughing Buddha," by Chen-vi

Four more, one not quite work-safe )

Awhile back, I posted this image of a man patting the belly of a Chinese painted figure called "The Fat God," and now wonder if he's another way to represent Ho-tei.

men_in_full: (Default)

It was deep into his fiery heart
He took the dust of Joan of Arc,
And then she clearly understood
If he was fire, then she must be wood...

"Joan of Arc," by Leonard Cohen

More men of fire, some NSFW. )

Earlier "elementals:"

men_in_full: (de vos bacchus pinch)
I have always liked the image of the Green Man - that European nature spirit who reflects the life of spring and midsummer vegetation. The UK sculpture from which these photos were made actually doesn't represent a big, round figure at all, but the photographer's angle of approach makes him look so. He appears to be made of burled wood and living plants. (Click for larger image.)

(By Tim Ellis, link)

Two more, SFW )

men_in_full: (Nine of Cups)
Earlier, I wrote about "Fat Men as Nine of Cups in the Tarot". Personally, I don't use tarot cards for divination, but rather as visual inspirations for my creative thought processes. The "characters" in the tarot point to ancient and common human experiences with many different types of people and situations. Pretty much everyone experiences authority figures, extremes of masculinity and femininity, power, disappointment, love, death, etc. To me, the tarot cards can serve as lenses which focus all these experiences, and can even make them intelligible (or more bearable, perhaps) while we are going through them.

The Nine of Cups is often represented as a large or even fat man, sitting at ease and seeming to welcome us into his space, which often is a banquet hall, or inn, or some kind of club or resort (in the more modern Osho-Wasser Zen tarot below.) Someone in a comment thread below brought up the subject of being a fat man and having confidence, or not as much as one would like. That's one marked characteristic of the Nine of Cups man - his confidence and ease. Many of the tarot cards contain qualities worthy of emulation, such as Justice, Temperance, Strength in the "major trumps," for instance. We could probably all benefit from incorporating some of the sober responsible authority of the Emperor or the patient wisdom of the Priestess. The "minor trumps" (of the which the Nine of Cups is one) impart their lessons too, and confident geniality is one of those qualities which this card points out to us - and the one pointing is a genial fat man.

Nine of Cups, six SFW images )

men_in_full: (Default)

I've been reading about Yule the past few days - that ancient pre-Christian European celebration around the time of the winter solstice. Pretty much everyone in the Northern Hemisphere had some kind of "festival of light" at this time, although the ancient European traditions of Yule speak most loudly to me. The more I read about Yule, the happier I feel, because I realize that all along I've been in touch with something quite ancient. When we put up greenery and pine cones, roast meat, make wassail and give toasts, light candles, decorate a fresh evergreen, bake cookies in the shape of little men, we honor the spirit of Yule.

But what are the roots of Yule? [ profile] abearius made a good point about one fundamental "reason for the season:"
Before there was Christ, or marketing departments, or even Yule, there were three months of dark, cold weather that not everybody could live through. And that's where "it" all began. Helping people live through something completely uncontrollable--weather that takes lives--is the real reason for the season of charity and compassion. Jesus came later ...
I think that you don't make a difference by spitting into the cold winter winds; you make a difference by giving people wood, or coal, or food, or hope.

More green men of winter, SFW )

men_in_full: (de vos bacchus)

[ profile] jennie_jay a few years ago pointed me to an article in a Swedish newspaper (sorry, no link) about the annual Swedish "Näcken" contest. Näcken is a Swedish water spirit who inhabits springs or waterfalls; plays the violin beautifully and irresistibly, and lures those unwittingly attracted to him to their doom. In the contest, men tune their violins to a strange, dissonant scale called "troll tuning," then play a folksong on their fiddles while sitting naked in an almost-freezing, running stream. I think the one who can play the whole song through without freezing wins.

Anyway, I've always loved the photo on the right (from the article) - not only because of the man's chubbiness, but because of the flowers which frame his face, and his blissful expression.

I guess I'm not done with the water motif, just yet. According to [ profile] jennie_jay, the Näcken of folklore is a spirit who lives at the border between water and air. Part of the beauty of fat men in the water is how people in water float. It's the closest experience most of us will ever have to being airborne and weightless, yet with mass and substantiality. Air moving over the surface of water produces waves, and the beautiful refractions of light through the water create an ethereal underwater landscape, a perfect setting for the naked beauty of the large man's body.

Below the link, some "Water Men" photographic images by GroovyandDreamy on Flickr.

Wet and probably NSFW )

Earlier: Fat Men in the Water

men_in_full: (de vos bacchus)

Some angels donated some paid LJ time for [ profile] men_in_full. Now there will be no ads anywhere. I don't know if you were the red-winged angels like the ones from David Addison Small's wonderfully corporeal angelic artwork (like in the painting above), but thank you anyway. It was completely unexpected and I am very grateful.

Now I can upload a lot more big-guy icons. And polls! And voice posts! I feel the love; I hope you feel my appreciation back.
men_in_full: (de vos bacchus)

msnmark, link

Hopefully you will enjoy this photo spread of big men in the water. I'll probably do a series of "elemental men" over the next month or so, with photos of "men in full" surrounded by the other elements as well (fire, water, earth.) Also, there were many more great water shots than I could use in one post, so rest assured that we haven't left the poolside or seashore!

Water brothers, NSFW )

For newer readers, here are some earlier posts which also incorporate watery themes, even if it's just an illustration:
men_in_full: (opera goers)
Those of you in Seattle or thereby might want to take a look at some of Brian Murphy's works at the Winston Wachter gallery, on exhibit until October 10.

Seattle art critic Regina Hackett in her review "Art Began With Fat People" compares one of the works on exhibit, Untitled (Triple Figure), to Renaissance painter Titian's "Allegory of Prudence," and says:

Titian's subject matter alludes to consequences that follow in sequence, and yet the painting broods over a darker, less predictable world. Murphy responds to the horror of it all, which in his hands is a gravity-free insistence. As to prudence, it's his character's undoing. Following Blake, the fictional Murphy knows it's a "rich, ugly old maid courted by incapacity." Because the character he projects cannot leave it behind, he continues to stare at the audience, as if it were a mirror.

In Fat Man Floating, I took issue with Hackett's use of the word "deformity" in connection with Murphy's treatment of images of the fat man, and I have the same reaction to Hackett's invocation here of "horror." Breaking free of gravity isn't necessarily horrible. There is something breathtaking about a large, fat man light on his feet, especially while dancing.

Nor is the triple invocation of an allegorical figure necessarily depressing. We have the Christian holy trinity; the Triple Goddess of girl, woman, and crone; the triad of id, ego, and superego in Freudian psychology; the animus/anima, self, and shadow in the theories of Carl Jung. The organizing principle, whether of the universe or the self, is often expressed in threes.

Everyone's self is to a certain extent divided between the conscious mind, the "adaptive unconscious" that thinks below the conscious mind's awareness, and the desiring, "animal" mind. So it's not surprising that artists would want to play with multiple and/or divided images, especially where the figures all look similar (as opposed to Titian's "ages of man" allegory, where each face represents a different stage in the lifespan.) Deliberately showing these divisions by multiplying the human figure perhaps can lead to bringing all those aspects of the divided self back into oneness and wholeness.

Below is one of my favorite of Murphy's paintings, probably because it *isn't* divided or fractioned. Murphy is brave, I think, to paint the very large and round man from an angle which many would consider "unflattering" (IOW the opposite of how many large people like to be painted or photographed, because the shot from above makes one look smaller.) Instead of hiding from size, Murphy literally spreads flesh across the paper, and where Hackett might see cloudlike evanescence, I see a delightful and earthy weight.

men_in_full: (Default)
I'm trying to pull a lot of stuff together right now, so posting here might be a bit anemic for awhile. When fall comes, and with it the cooler weather, I try to spend as much time outside as possible. Also, I am also going to be out of town for a good part of October, which means I have to *get ready* to go out of town. I don't do that efficiently ... :D

I will try to keep up with posting, even if my posts aren't saturated with "thinky thoughts." In the meantime, here are some images of large men in traditional Indian iconography.

The Nawabi were high-ranking administrative officials in the Mughal Empire. This Nawab gazes out at the viewer with forthright assurance. (Click for full-sized image.)


Man and god in full in India, 5 more, one NSFW )

men_in_full: (iz and marlene)
I've mostly thought of the Swiss symbolist Arnold Böcklin (1827-1901) as a painter of moody islands, but in later life he created quite a few images of mythological sea-people which both charm and disturb at the same time. I came across these:

Two Böcklin sea scenes, SFW )

men_in_full: (Default)
In Greek mythology, Ganymede was in Homer "the loveliest born to the race of mortals." Love-smitten Zeus either transformed himself into an eagle, or sent his eagle to steal the young Phrygian shepherd from his father and brothers, conveyed him to Olympus, and gave Ganymede eternal youth and life. The young man came to serve as cupbearer to the gods, mixing the nectar with water. Legend has it that Zeus's wife Hera always withdrew her hand in anger, and out of jealousy would not drink.

Euripedes called Ganymede "the dear delight of Zeus's bed" in Iphignia at Aulis. The youth's Latin name, Ganymede Catamitus, gave us the old phrase "catamite" for a young man who has a sexual relationship with an older one. Another name given to him is "Himeros," or "desire."

While the Greeks portrayed Ganymede as a slim youth of the kouros type, later depictions showed him as fuller-bodied.

Ganymede gallery )

I'm not sure why some of the Roman and later Western images showed Ganymede as plump. Perhaps slimness was associated with youth in Greece, but not in Rome or Christian Western Europe. It might be that Ganymede's plumpness was a subtle allusion to his status as Zeus's lover, as a way to "feminize" him somehow, as if Zeus's attraction "required" some explanation.

(Ganymede lore from
men_in_full: (daniel lambert)

When I first saw Dennyk's photograph Ruebenesque, it took my breath away. I didn't know who the artist was at the time, but the beauty of the image haunted me. Since then, I've been impressed by how he photographs men of non-standard, and in some cases even "ordinary" physical types in such a way that they radiantly glow. The men in natural settings are often shot in soft sepia tones, and those in silverish black-and-white still seem suffused with warmth. I will admit to liking those compositions with more full-bodied models, but regardless of body shape, his nudes pulse with life and quiet emotion.

More, with thumbnails )

Credit, upper right: "The Presence," Dennyk


men_in_full: (Default)

September 2013



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