Eleni Bagaki

Man Under the Sky (He Imagined his Life Naked)


  • Eleni Bagaki, Man Under the Sky (he Imagined his Life Naked), 2023, oil on canvas, 230 x 200 cm

    Oil on canvas

    230 x 200 cm

A really golden-curly young man lies in all his naked innocence, casually leaning on one arm, in a seemingly paradisiacal landscape. In his hands he holds a bouquet of flowers. A warm orange dawn heats up the idyllic scene. No fig leaf conceals his relaxed, erect member, which conveys a state of suspension between seductive innocence and latent sexual pleasure.

Clearly, Eleni Bagaki is not afraid that famous nudes from art history as iconographic models are coming to the visual memory. These range from "Sleeping Venus", 1510, by Giorgione and Titian, "Venus of Urbino", 1538, by Titian, "The Naked Maja (La maja desnuda)", 1795-1800, by Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes, to "Olympia" 1863 by Édouard Manet, and all refer to the absence of equally famous nude paintings depicting men.

Tina Pandi, curator at the EMST in Athens, writes:

"In the paintings, solitary nude figures stand or interact in idyllic landscapes, bathed in the colours of dusk. In this dreamy state of roaming and observation of desire, female subjectivity, sexuality, and sexual quest, she explores ways to depict contemporary bodies and their hybrid, ambiguous, and diffuse sexual identities. Casting an eroticized and compassionate glance upon her subjects in quest of intimacy and connection, even though she is not portrayed,she is present in the painting. And finally, by inverting the predominantly phallocentric approach to the female nude in the history of painting, she articulates her own understanding of pleasure and voyeuristic desire through the prism of female subjectivity and sexuality."

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