Edith Hall

Listen in pop-out player

When we think of the nude we usually think of the female nude and in Western art in particular we're often contemplating an image where the artist is primarily concerned with sensuality and desire. If we spare a thought for the male nude at all he tends to appear as a figure symbolising courage and endurance. Both perspectives are, of course, a simplification or distortion. This week's Essay series - Men Only: An Informal History of the Male Nude - is a kind of corrective to that astigmatism.
In the first essay the classicist Edith Hall examines the ideals of the Greeks and the Romans. She begins with Myron's discus thrower from 460 BC and moves via Marilyn Monroe and Leni Riefenstahl to the images of Antinous, the great love of the Roman Emperor, Hadrian. Along the way she rediscovers the shock of her first encounters with the Classical tradition and reflects on the impact this continues to have on our lives today.

Producer: Zahid Warley

First broadcast in February 2012.

Release date:

Available now

15 minutes

Last on

Mon 10 Jun 2013 22:45

Download The Essay

The Essay podcast

Download all the episodes from the series and listen at your leisure.

Buy online

Buy online

Available on: Audio download

From one supplier: iTunes

Where to buy