The statue’s gaze

(hunky men modeling underwear or underwear-adjacent garments, classical male nude statuary, references to the male body in sometimes intimate detail, so some might want to exercise their judgment about this posting)

Today’s Daily Jock’s e-mail ad offers an eye-catching vision of an ideal male body, an athlete posed at rest, his gigantic sculpted musculature held powerfully in reserve as he strikes an attitude of Greco-Roman male beauty, his unfocused gaze directed down and to the side. A decidedly modern and calculatedly homoerotic presentation reproducing the pose of the Westmacott Athlete, from a very different aesthetic and cultural context, in which the beauty of a boy athlete conveys the moral ideals of goodness and truth embodied in balanced strength, nothing in excess.

The DJ ad for the Cellblock13 Kennel Club Bandit collection of harnesses and jockstraps (available in four intense colors), marketed as fetishwear — that is, as homowear, for display, rather than as gymwear, in actual athletic gear:

(#1) Bandits in intense blue (they also come in intense red, pink, and gray), worn by a superhumanly muscled model; try to imagine him as sculpted in warm brownish marble

The Westmacott Athlete. From the British Museum site:

(#2) Marble statue of a boy athlete, 1st c. Roman (after a Greek bronze original of about 430 BC); he’s lost his extended right arm and (almost inevitably for ancient statuary) his penis. though his modest testicles survive; and a brace has been added to support his resting left arm

The images share their stance and gaze. The boy athlete has an extraordinarily long torso and extraordinarily long legs; the muscle-stud in #1 is much more compact and so is more realistic in this regard (though not in others). The boy is of course beardless, while the underwear model in #1 is bearded. But both have curly hair and pronounced Apollo’s / Adonis belts.

[Digression: Adonis belts. From Wikipedia:

(#3) (photos from the Josef Rakich bodybuilding Facebook page)

The Apollo’s belt, also known as Adonis belt or iliac furrow, is a term for a part of the human anatomy. It refers to two shallow grooves of the surface anatomy of the human abdomen running from the iliac crest (hip bone) to the pubis.

The term “iliac furrow” does not appear in any of the abstracts indexed by PubMed [and is] not a currently defined term in Terminologia Anatomica … [but the] term … is still encountered in art history. Because the visibility of the “belt” is a sign of low body fat, the terms “Apollo’s belt” and “Adonis belt” are often used by bodybuilders and their admirers.]

Other views of the Westmacott Athlete. A rear view, showing his modest, but tight and muscular, buttocks:


And the head, viewed from an angle:


Athletes and servicemen. Another statuary adventure in ancient Greece, in my 6/20/20 posting “Ephebe with a big package”, which also starts with a DJ ad:

(#6) Again, an unfocused gaze down and to the side

Here, the parallel is to the Ephebe of Marathon, by Praxiteles or someone from his school. Showing just the head:

(#7) ephebe ‘(in ancient Greece) a young man of 18–20 years undergoing military training’ (NOAD)

The Downward Gaze. Now for something completely different: the male gaze directly downward, not to the side, and focused on the man’s own genitals; the viewer’s gaze then follows the model’s, so that the pose calls attention to the model’s genitals (whether they are in any sense visible or not). My postings on the topic appear to begin with an AZBlogX posting of 11/8/10 “The Gaze Downward”, on photos of guys — underwear or porn models — staring fixedly down at their own hard penises, apparently with no regard for the viewer.

Later postings on this blog developed the theme. Two of them:

my 2/20/19 posting “News for penises: notes on phallophilia”, on a Daily Jocks ad (for Kasper Military shorts from the Helsinki Athletica company) showing a hunky model gazing fixedly down at his bulging crotch:

(#8) A minimal contrast to #6

my 11/18/21 posting “Helgi Narcissus (again)”:

(#9) The model I’ve called Helgi in Helsinki Athletica Kasper long johns, contemplating his own handsome body, but focused on his genitals: this is Helgi4, following three previous Daily Jocks photos of this model

Then there are intermediate cases, as in this underwear ad in my 3/16/11 posting “Underwear puns”:

(#10) Gaze Downward: downward but to the side, with the model’s eyes engaging neither with the viewer nor directly with his crotch

Here there’s no suggestion of an allusion to ancient statuary and its conventions; the Downward Gaze is just deflected a bit, so that it merely grazes  that bulging pouch.

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