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Published on June 20th, 2017 | by Magda Michalska

Looking For Hot Renaissance Boys?

Then look no further! If you need a sight of some muscular bodies, don’t go to the beach this year, but book yourself a ticket to the Sistine Chapel where these hot Renaissance boys are waiting for you all ready!

Hey Girl, I’m better than Ryan Gosling memes

Michelangelo, Ignudo, c. 1512, Sistine Chapel, Rome, hot renaissance boys

Michelangelo, Ignudo, c. 1512, Sistine Chapel, Rome

Michelangelo was a real master of muscles. And a very playful man, too: he placed these 20 Ignudi, that is ‘nude men’, right between the episodes from the Genesis… The only thing that bugged the scholars was: what did Michelangelo want to represent with them?

Hey Girl, I’m looking at you from my ceiling

Michelangelo, Ignudo, c. 1512, Sistine Chapel, Rome, hot renaissance boys

Michelangelo, Ignudo, c. 1512, Sistine Chapel, Rome

The height of ignudi ranges from 150 to 180 cm, they all are seated on plynths and they often are wrapped in pink or yellow ribbons, or hold acorn festoons which allude to the family emblem of the Della Rovere, the clan of pope Julius II, the commissioner.

Hey Girl, I want just you, I’m fed up with all those tourists

Michelangelo, Ignudo, c. 1512, Sistine Chapel, Rome, hot renaissance boys

Michelangelo, Ignudo, c. 1512, Sistine Chapel, Rome

If you wonder why their poses are so weird, since all of them seem more or less uncomfortable (well, I kind of get it, sitting on a cold marble plynth, and not everyone’s got a pillow)… Such poses were chosen on purpose to expose the tense muscles, a typical practice of High Renaissance art which later evolved into Mannierism. The idea was to show the highest craft possible in painting and the beauty of human anatomy.

Hey girl, I’m too muscular to scratch my back

Michelangelo, Ignudo, c. 1512, Sistine Chapel, Rome, hot renaissance boys

Michelangelo, Ignudo, c. 1512, Sistine Chapel, Rome

Vasari, the chronicler of the lives of great Italian artists, described the boys as symbols of the ‘golden age’ of Julius’ pontificate, whereas the modern scholarship defined them as symbols of neoplatonic philosophy or theology. As Italian philosopher Giovanni Pico della Mirandola wrote, they were meant to inspire man to glorify God who created man in His own image.

Hey girl, do you want to pull this ribbon together?

Michelangelo, Ignudo, c. 1512, Sistine Chapel, Rome, hot renaissance boys

Michelangelo, Ignudo, c. 1512, Sistine Chapel, Rome

However, probably the most convincing definition of the role of the Ignudi in the Sistine Chapel was by Charles de Tolnay who wrote that they are there as ‘angelic figures’, intermediary creatures between man and divinity. Don’t you agree?!


About the Author

Magda, an art historian-to-be, she writes about art because she cannot make it herself. She loves committed and political artists like Ai Wei Wei or the Futurists; like Joseph Beuys she believes that art can change us and we can change the world.



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