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A Gallery of Intact Penises in Art

3. The Renaissance.

 

Thousands of statues and paintings featuring nude male figures - virtually all intact - were created during the Renaissance, when Christian diffidence gave way before ideals of classical beauty. This is only a small selection.

 

Expulsion of Adam and Eve

Tommaso
Masaccio
(Active ~1401
-1428)
shows Adam's
foreskin as
short or
partly retracted.

Adam's penis

Capella Brancacci, Chiesa del Carmine, Florence

 

Ceiling of the Piccolomini Library, Siena Rape of Proserpine, by Pinturicchio
Pluto's penis, by Pinturicchio

The Rape of Persephone (c.1502) by Pinturicchio (14541513)
Persephone/Proserpina, daughter of Demeter/Ceres, was carried of to the Underworld by Hades/Pluto.
The fresco is the more remarkable for being in a space devoted to Pope Pius II

vault of the Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena

 

Leonardo's Vitruvian man
Vitruvian man's penis

Leonardo da Vinci's "Vitruvian man" is much copied - though his intact penis is seldom shown clearly.

 

Leonardo's standing man

Again, in a few simple strokes, Leonardo indicates the corona, the acroposthion - and the assymetrical testicles.

Leonardo da Vinci
A nude man standing facing the spectator
property of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
(Royal Library at Windsor)

 

Leonardo imposed the thinking of his day on his drawings. In his famous cross-section of couple having intercourse, he invents tubes from the man's spinal cord (to transmit an "animal" or "soul" element), heart (a "spiritual" element) and testes (a :material" element) passing through the length of the penis. Perhaps he misinterpreted the two corpora cavernosa and the corpus spongiosum as these tubes.

Creation of Adam
Adam's penis

One of the best known nude male images in the world. Michaelangelo's Adam is portrayed with a baby's penis - presumably to indicate his innocence.

As such, this is quite accurate - a baby's foreskin may extend far beyond the end of his glans. (The closeup was taken after the recent restoration.)

 

 

Ignudo Ignudo's penis

One of the enigmatic male nudes (ignudi) on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. He is portrayed with a small adult penis.

 

 

David
David's penis

David's penis is relatively small, probably to avoid attracting attention (the viewers' eyes are level with his feet), and following classical ideals. He is intact because:

  • Michaelangelo preferred it
  • his model was (of course) intact
  • Michaelangelo had regard to the midrash (Men 43 6) that David "looked on himself in the bath and was distressed he had no evidence of a covenant fulfilled" and had himself (re-)circumcised (Encyclopedia Judaica)
  • the ancient Israelite circumcision was minimal, and/or
  • it isn't of the Biblical David at all. Some art historians believe that David was actually the name of the model who posed for the statue, and that Michaelangelo claimed the Biblical reference to make it acceptable to the Christian world.

 

Hercules by de' Rossi Hercules' penis

Hercules by Vincenzo de' Rossi
(1525-1587)

Palazzo Vecchio, Florence

 

Lunette by Pontormo
Vertumnus by Pontormo Vertumnus's penis

Jacopo Pontormo,
Vertumnus and Pomona,
fresco in the Villa Medici,
Poggio a Caiano
(Florence), 1519 - 21

 

Danzi's ''Victory of Honesty''Danzi's ''Victory of Honesty'''s penis

Allegory of
the Victory
of Honesty
over Deceit
by Vincenzo Danti
(1530-76)

Boboli Gardens, Florence

 

'van der Shardt's Mercury van der Schardt's Mercury's penis
van der Schart's Mercury's penis - profile
Mercury, by Johann Gregor van der Schardt (c. 1570-80) has a flaring, detailed acroposthion.

- the Getty Center

 

Tortoise fountain, SFTortoise fountain youth
The Fontana delle Tartarughe (Fountain of the Tortoises) in Piazza Mattei, Rome, was designed in 1581 by Giacomo della Porta, with bronze figures by Taddeo Landini. This replica was made in the early 20th century and installed in its present location, Huntington Park, San Francisco, in 1954.Tortoise fountain youth';s penis

 

''Polyphemus and Acis'' after CarracciPolyphemus' penis

The cyclops' penis is boyish after the classical manner, with a long foreskin...

Polyphemus' penis again

...and a detailed acroposthion. (c.1597)

''Polyphemus and Galatea'' after Carracci

Polyphemus and Acis

Polyphemus and Galatea

after Annibale Carracci (1560-1609)

Biblioteca Ambrosiana
Milan

 

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