Photos and Paintings of the Male Nude

Sculptures and other paintings can be found here.

Mathematical Art

Mathematics produces plenty of what may be termed “Art” – see polyhedra, fractals and Conway’s Game of Life amongst others.

Artists featured here are:



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Other paintings are here, here, here and here.


Some of these pictures show explicit male nudity; the artists or photographers this applies to are marked with asterisks. If you are likely to be offended by this, please leave this web page now.

Henry Scott Tuke

All Hands to the Pumps

All Hands to the Pumpswas painted 1888–9, oil on canvas, 1854 × 1397 mm; Tate Gallery, presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1889.

Morning Splendour

Morning Splendour is a painting in Baden Powell House, Headquarters of the Boy Scouts movement.

Head of Nicola

Head of Nicola

Head of Nicola is in oil on canvas, 1913, 41.9 cm × 52 cm, signed ‘H. S. Tuke’ (upper right) and painted in 1913.

This is a portrait of Tuke’s Italian model Nicola Lucciani. With his deeply tanned, olive brown skin, dark curly hair and almost black brown eyes, Nicola provided a more exotic colouring than Tuke’s usual models, made up of local Cornish working lads. Nicola was the first professional model Tuke had used since his first paintings of the nude outdoors painted in Falmouth in 1885 when the model was a cockney lad, Walter Shilling.

Tuke had started teaching at the Royal Academy Schools in January 1913 and that is possibly where he met Lucciani. Tuke notes in his register of paintings that this particular portrait of Nicola was painted in his garden at Swanpool, Falmouth in Cornwall in 1913. He also mentions working from the model in his garden in a letter to his mother in 1913.

This portrait head and shoulders of Nicola can be seen as a study in preparation for Tuke’s important work called Fawn [1] which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1914, as this painting also features Nicola Lucciani arms outstretched grabbing branches of green shrubs that surround him. The few differences being that Fawn is a three-quarter-length nude portrait of Nicola and was, according to Tuke’s register, painted at the back of Newporth beach, Falmouth.

The painting of Nicola titled Fawn was exhibited the year Tuke became a full Royal Academician.

Nicola therefore can be seen to have played a key part in Tuke’s election as a Royal Academician, as he was the model that Tuke featured in Tuke’s diploma work for the Royal Academy Bathing Group [2] painted in 1913. Nicola also featured in another painting of that year called July Sun [3], which Tuke boasted he painted ‘practically in one sitting’; Tuke gave July Sun to the Royal Academy in 1914.

Like so many of Tuke’s young male models at this time, they were called up or volunteered to fight in the Great War. Some returned, but Nicola was one of the unlucky ones and he was killed in 1916 at Trentino in his native Italy. The fact that this beautiful young man only had three more years to live, adds to the poignancy of this particular painting and reminds us that Tuke captured ‘A lost generation of youth’.

References in the text are from B.D.Price, ed. The Registers of Henry Scott Tuke (1858 — 1929), Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society, 1983: [1] no. R765; [2] no. R790; [3] no. R766.

Henry Scott Tuke

August Blue

August Blue

One of his best known paintings from this period is August Blue, 1893, bought for the nation (Tate Gallery) in 1894 (in the Peter Paul Rubens Gallery). Looe artist, Lindsay Symington (1872 — 1942), modelled for the blonde boy holding onto the boat in the water; though not a regular model, Symington was a good friend of Tuke, the latter often visiting the Symington family home, Pixies’ Holt, at Dartmeet.

This painting, having been bought for the nation, heralded Tuke’s arrival as an important artist of the late Victorian era.

Midsummer Morning

Midsummer Morning from 1908 was signed and dated ‘H.S. TUKE.1908’ (lower right); it is oil on canvas, 72¼ × 54 in. (183.5 × 137.2 cm.)

Boys Bathing

Boys Bathing
Painted in 1908, now in the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery

Noonday Heat

Noonday Heat, 1902

Study for Noonday Heat

Study for Noonday Heat, 1911

Noonday Heat, 1911

Noonday Heat, 1911

Youth in White Trousers

Youth in White Trousers, painted about 1900

July Sun

July Sun, 1913; Royal Academy of the Arts, London

The Bather

The Bather, 1924

Henry Scott Tuke

Ruby Gold And Malachite

Ruby Gold And Malachite, painted in oil in 1902

The boy on the rocks was Charlie Mitchell. Mitchell was Tuke’s boatman for 30 years and in his will, Tuke left him £1,000 (worth about £40,000 today).

Charlie Mitchell

Charlie Mitchell (1885 — 1957),
date of painting unknown

Charlie Seated on the Sand

Charlie Seated on the Sand

Two Boys and a Dog

[L] 2 Boys & a Dog, painted about 1914; [R] Title not known

Portrait of T E Lawrence

T E Lawrence

This Portrait of T E Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”) was painted in the 1920s

Samuel Under a Tree, Jamaica

Samuel, Jamaica

Samuel Under a Tree, Jamaica in oil on board was painted on one of Tuke’s visits to Jamaica

Under the Western Sun

Under the Western Sun, 1917, oil on canvas, 59.5 x 44.5 inches

Boys Bathing on the Rocks

Boys Bathing on the Rocks, 1921; watercolour 22 × 14 cm, Bury Art Gallery and Museum, Lancashire

Nude on the Rocks

Nude on the Rocks,
from about 1917

Two Boys on a Beach — a Study in Bright Sunlight

Two boys on a Beach,
painted in 1909


Scott, subtitled Portrait of a young man

Gustave Caillebotte (August 19, 1848—February 21, 1894)

Three Men Scraping Floor

Three Men Scraping Floor – Study

Two Men Scraping Floor

Two Men Scraping Floor – Study

– and Another

  • Three Men Scraping Floor (1875, oil on canvas, 146 cm × 102 cm), Musée d’Orsay, Paris; and a study for the painting.
  • Self-portrait.
  • Two Men Scraping Floor (1876, oil on canvas, private collection, dimensions not known) and two charcoal studies for the painting.

Gustave Caillebotte, was a French painter, member and patron of the group of artists known as Impressionists, though he painted in a much more realistic manner than many other artists in the group. Caillebotte was noted for his early interest in photography as an artform.

Gustave Caillebotte was born to an upper-class Parisian family. His father, Martial Caillebotte (1799—1874), was the inheritor of the family’s military textile business and was also a judge at the Seine department’s Tribunal de Commerce. Caillebotte’s father was twice widowed before marrying Caillebotte’s mother, Celeste Daufresne (1819-1878), who had two more sons after Gustave, Rene (1851—1876) and Martial (1853—1910).

Critics such as Edmond Duranty saw the sense of contemporary realism, which was often to be found in Impressionist works, as one of their greatest virtues. This quality was strikingly present in Caillebotte’s remarkable picture of men renovating the floor of his new apartment (Les raboteurs de parquet).

At that time (about 1875), the art establishment only deemed rustic peasants or farmers as acceptable subjects from the working class – interiors should only depict formal paintings of the non-working-class.

Thomas Cowperthwait Eakins (25th July 1844 — 25th June 1916)

Steelworkers at Lunch


An Arcadian, c.1883



The Swimming Hole


At Dove Lake, Penn.

Art Students Wrestling in the Nude, 1883

Nude Boxers

The Wrestlers

Photo Study for The Wrestlers, 1899

Photo of a Tug-of-War

Study in Human Motion

Photo of Nude Boy

Thomas Eakins was born in Philadelphia in 1844 and studied under Jean-Leon Gerome. He became fascinated by photography and bought his first camera in 1880. He began to photograph models and then use the photographs in creating his paintings. He was an American realist painter, photographer and sculptor. He is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important artists in American art history. He was trained at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, École des Beaux-Arts.

Eakins produced a number of large paintings which brought the portrait out of the drawing room and into the offices, streets, parks, rivers, arenas, and surgical amphitheaters of his city. These active outdoor venues allowed him to paint the subject which most inspired him: the nude or lightly clad figure in motion. In the process he could model the forms of the body in full sunlight, and create images of deep space utilizing his studies in perspective.

For the length of his professional career, from the early 1870s until his health began to fail some forty years later, Eakins worked exactingly from life, choosing as his subject the people of his hometown of Philidelphia. He painted several hundred portraits, usually of friends, family members, or prominent people in the arts, sciences, medicine, and clergy. Taken en masse, the portraits offer an overview of the intellectual life of Philadelphia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; individually, they are incisive depictions of thinking persons.

In the late 1890s Eakins returned to the male figure, this time in a more urban setting. Taking the Count (1896), a painting of a prizefight, was his second largest canvas, but not his most successful composition.

In his later years Eakins persistently asked his female portrait models to pose in the nude, a practice which would have been all but prohibited in conventional Philadelphia society. Inevitably, his desires were frustrated.

No less important in Eakins’ life was his work as a teacher. As an instructor he was a highly influential presence in American art. The difficulties which beset him as an artist seeking to paint the portrait and figure realistically were paralleled and even amplified in his career as an educator, where behavioral and sexual scandals truncated his success and damaged his reputation.

Eakins was a controversial figure whose work received little by way of official recognition during his lifetime. In 1894 he wrote: “My honors are misunderstanding, persecution and neglect, enhanced because unsought”. Since his death, he has been celebrated by American art historians as “the strongest, most profound realist in nineteenth-and early-twentieth-century American art”.

His most famous works are: Max Schmitt in a Single Scull, 1871, The Gross Clinic, 1875, The Agnew Clinic, 1889 and William Rush and His Model, 1908. He was a National Academician.

Thomas Eakins has been celebrated by American art historians as “the strongest, most profound realist in nineteenth-and early-twentieth-century American art” (Wikipedia). But much to the horror of some of his purist contemporaries, he often worked from photographs that he took himself. As a teacher, he was also controversial in his use of both genders of nude models in mixed gender classes.

Juan Bela y Morales (1872 — 1944)

Bela y Morales was a Spanish artist who died in 1944 at the age of seventy-two years. He was a Classical Academic artist and perfectly captures that genre in this wonderfully static depiction of a young shepherd. The original painting is in the Museo de Bellas Artes in Valencia, Spain.

  • Pastor Joven or Young Shepherd [left] dates from 1899.

About Henry Scott Tuke and his Paintings

Henry Scott Tuke

Self-portrait, 1920

The Photo of Tuke by Thomas Gun was taken during the 1880s.

Henry Scott Tuke was born in York into a Quaker family in 1858, and went to live in Falmouth, Cornwall, in 1860. The happy memories of Tuke’s childhood spent on the beaches around Falmouth, watching the tall ships coming into the harbour from all over the world, helped his decision 23 years later to return to live firstly in Newlyn then in Falmouth where he remained for the rest of his life. His twin abiding loves were the sea and boys; this caused quite a stir in Victorian and Edwardian England, but he was nonetheless a member of the Royal Academy.

Best known for his paintings of bathing boys, Henry Scott Tuke was in fact, a very diverse and talented artist in a variety of subjects and media. His first commissions were portraits of family and friends, including other Quakers such as the Fox family. Tuke was also known as great maritime artist, a very accurate depicter of every kind of sailing craft from Lowestoft fishing boats that came to Falmouth in the winter, to wooden and steel hulled sailing ships such as barques and brigantines, to smaller quay punts and yawls.

Tuke enjoyed a considerable reputation, and he earned enough money from his paintings to enable him to travel abroad and he painted in France, Italy and the West Indies. In 1900 a banquet was held in his honour at the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society. He was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts in 1914 and a Royal Academician in 1914. Works by Henry Scott Tuke are in public art collections across the world including at Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane in Australia, Auckland and Wellington in New Zealand and Munich, Germany as well as throughout the UK and Ireland.

Tuke favoured rough, visible brush strokes, at a time when a smooth, polished finish was favoured by fashionable painters and critics. He had a strong sense of colour and excelled in the depiction of natural light, particularly the soft, fragile sunlight of the English summer. Although Tuke often finished paintings in the studio, photographic evidence shows that he worked mainly in the open air, which accounts for their freshness of colour and the realistic effects of sunlight reflected by the sea and on the naked flesh of his models.

Initially, Tuke returned to Newlyn after the tragically early death of his only brother William Tuke in 1883 from tuberculosis, to paint alongside his fellow ex-students from the Slade School of Fine Art in London and the Ateliers of Paris.

Most of his paintings from Newlyn are quite dark interiors set in Philip Harvey’s fishing tackle cellar in Trewarveneth Street, where Tuke rented rooms. His subjects were the local children such as Ambrose Rouffignac posing with a model boat or eating his dinner.

Newlyn was where Tuke started to get a taste for all things nautical. He bought his first boat The Ripple, there, and he did his first painting of boys sitting in a small rowing boat on a sunny day in Newlyn harbour. But it was Falmouth that won his heart in the end, and he moved into rented rooms at Pennance Cottage at Pennance point near Swanpool in 1885.

Pennance cottage was also, it seems, chosen by Tuke because if its proximity to some secluded and fairly inaccessible beaches such as Newporth beach. These beaches were vital to the subject that he created as his greatest artistic challenge, painting the nude human figure outdoors. From 1900 to 1914 he was at the height of his powers as a painter and experimented with impressionist techniques. This can be seen in his stunning figure composition Midsummer Morning, 1908.

In his early paintings, Tuke placed his male nudes in mythological contexts, but the critics found these works to be rather formal, lifeless and flaccid. From the 1890s, Tuke abandoned mythological themes and began to paint local boys fishing, sailing, swimming and diving, and also began to paint in a more naturalistic style. His handling of paint became freer, and he began using bold, fresh colour.

After an inspirational trip some years later in 1892 to the Mediterranean and the Greek island of Corfu, he came back wanting to paint the nude outdoors in Falmouth. He had attempted painting nude bathers as early as 1885 with a professional male model brought from London, but soon found this expensive and difficult. This was equally true when trying to obtain female models. In the end, Tuke asked the local lads to pose nude for him. Tuke always paid them and treated them with courtesy and consideration, although he demanded they were professional and sometimes asked them to model outdoors as late as November.

They are known by name: Edward John “Johnny” Jackett (1878—1935), Charlie Mitchell (who looked after Tuke’s boats), Willie Sainsbury (Tuke’s eldest nephew), Leo Marshall, Georgie and Richard Fouracre, George Williams (younger son of close neighbours), Maurice Clift (nephew of a family friend), Ainsley Marks, Jack Rowling, Freddy Hall, Bert White and Harry Cleave. All of his regular models were sent to fight in WWI and some, including Maurice Clift who died in France, never returned.

The beaches were an ideal setting as they were south facing, usually bathed in sunshine and had interesting barnacle encrusted rocks and shallow warm pools for the models to stand around. Tuke had started painting the nude figure whilst studying at the Slade in London where he won prizes for his life painting. But it was in Italy that he first painted male youths outdoors in 1881.

Besides nude boys, Tuke’s main subject was the depiction of the sea. He was himself a great enthusiast of nude bathing which he continued to do into old age. Tuke painted some female nudes but these were not as successful as his male nude paintings.

Although Tuke’s paintings of nude youths undoubtedly appealed to his gay friends and art-buyers, they are never explicitly sexual. The models’ genitals are almost never shown, they are almost never in physical contact with each other, and there is never any suggestion of overt sexuality. Most of the paintings have the nude models standing or crouching on the beach facing out to sea, so only the back view is displayed.

“I learnt to swim in India, in a pool donated to the school by the Edwardian cricketer Ranjitsinhji. I was the only English boy in the school. My father was the headmaster, and Sir K.S Ranjitsinghji, the Jam Saheb of Nawanagar, its most eminent old-boy, though he was only one prince among many there. Sometimes his successor allowed us to bathe in the flooded subterranean vaults of his palace nearby, among columns that disappeared mysteriously into black water. On the walls of the palace above there still hung Tuke’s paintings of bathing boys that the Jam Saheb had collected during his cricketing years in England.” – the opening passage of Charles Sprawson’s book Haunts of the Black Masseur.

Major examples of his male nudes were purchased by major art galleries including The Bathers at Leeds Art Gallery and August Blue at the Tate in London. But he was also well known as a portraitist, and maintained a London studio to work on his commissions. Among his best known portraits is that of soldier and writer T E Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”).

Here’s a good account of Tuke’s life.

Tuke died in 1929 aged 71

Tuke himself wrote a poem that he published anonymously in The Artist:

Sonnet to Youth

Youth standing sweet, triumphant by the sea,
All freshness of the day
And all the light
Of morn of thy white limbs, firm, bared and bright.

Henry Scott Tuke

Figure study for Aquamarine

Figure study for Aquamarine from 1928


Aquamarine, 1928 — 1929; private collection

The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse

Portrait of Johnny Jackett

Johnny Jackett

Three Companions

Three Companions, 1905; private collection

The Bathers

The Bathers

Henry Scott Tuke

Gleaming Waters

Gleaming Waters, 1910

Youth on Beach

Youth on Beach, 1920

The Sun Bathers

The Sun Bathers, 1920

Orange Jersey

Orange Jersey

Boy on the Beach

Boy on the Beach

The Sun Bathers

The Sun Bathers

Steering the Punt

Steering the Punt

Lovers of the Sun

Lovers of the Sun

A Bathing Group

Bathing Group,
[L] 1904? [R] 1914



The Bathers

The Bathers
From 1920

From 1894

A Standing Male Nude

Standing Male Nude

The Sun Worshipper

The Sun Worshipper, 1904

Boy in the Cove

Boy in the Cove

The Critics

The Critics

Boy with an Oar

Boy with an Oar

After the Bathe

After the Bathe

Harold Harvey (1874 — 1941)

After the Swim, 1906

Harvey was a Newlyn artist of the Modernist School, the only one born near the sea. His informal style is the hallmark of the Newlyn colony which included Henry Scott Tuke and others. Harvey’s work has a softer impression than others of the Newlyn Colony and this image is a perfect example of this. The artist died in 1941 at the age of 67 years.

Evelyn De Morgan (30 August 1855 — 2 May 1919)

Phosphorus & Hesperus

De Morgan was a pioneering woman artist who was born in 1855. Her work is Pre-Raphaelite and she was influenced by her uncle Roddam Stanhope and Edward Poynter. She died in 1919 one of the most renown of women artists in the world. Hesperus in Greek mythology was the son of Eos and Atlas and was associated with the evening star, Venus. In its morning aspect, the planet we know as Venus was known to the Greeks as Phosphorus, the bringer of light. In some mythological stories, these two male figures were considered to be lovers. The original of this painting is in the De Morgan Foundation in Battersea, London.

Emile Friant (16 April 1863 — 9 June 1932)


La Lutte (The Wrestle)

Inspired by La Lutte

Emile Friant was fond of depicting everyday French peasants in their routine pastimes. He died in 1932 at the age of sixty-nine years.

Baron Wilhelm von Gloeden (September 16, 1856—February 16, 1931)

Study of two male nudes sitting back to back
Caino – Cain,
around 1902; 30 × 40 cm.
This is one of the most famous pictures by Gloeden. It sold thousands of copies worldwide, and was advertised in the first homosexual periodicals

Hypnos – Sleep (in Greek), about 1900. The title comes from the fact that the boy holds two flowers of Brugmansia (or datura) which have a hypnotic effect

Italian boy posing as Bacchus, before about 1895

[Left] Land of Fire, before 1895. One of the most famous images by Gloeden. It shows a view upon the Vesuvius from Posillipo (Naples) from the terrace used by both Gloeden and by his cousin Wilhelm von Pluschow. The background Vesuvius was heavily retouched, almost repainted, on the glass negative

The Three Graces

Love and art
(Amore e arte)

Male nude posing with a dog, 1890s.
(The dog is “Nedda”, Gloeden’s own black bitch)

Boy with headband and palm leaf (Ragazzo con tenia e foglia di palma), 1890 to 1895 [Google managed to translate the Italian word “tenia” to “tapeworm”!]

Von Gloeden was a German photographer who worked mainly in Italy. He is mostly known for his pastoral nude studies of Sicilian boys, which usually featured props such as wreaths or amphoras suggesting a setting in the Greece or Italy of antiquity. From a modern standpoint, his work is commendable due to his controlled use of lighting as well as the often elegant poses of his models. Innovative use of photographic filters and special body makeup (a mixture of milk, olive oil, and glycerin) to disguise skin blemishes contribute to the artistic perfection of his works.

Famous in his own day, his work was subsequently eclipsed for close to a century, only to re-emerge in recent times as “the most important gay visual artist of the pre-World War I era” according to Thomas Waugh.