I really love the work of LA-based artist Cleon Peterson. His work often depicts violent scenes of barely dressed human (male) figures beating up or stabbing other figures in sort of epic battle scenes somewhere in an urban or forest-like environment. When I first saw this work, I was a bit shocked of my own reaction. I found myself staring fascinated at the large mural pieces wondering why I really liked his work so much. Graphically – as if they were illustrations to the ugly side of humanity – his paintings explore chaos, power struggle, and the general condition of our society with a simplified palette of strong, contrasting colors and ‘clear line’ drawings.

The explosive scenes tell stories of battle, disorder and genocide where the depicted characters sometimes appear like those black painted warrior figures on classical Greek urns, or more precisely like the anatomy studies of Battle of the Nude Men by Antonio del Pollaiuolo, who worked for the powerful De Medici family in the 15th century.

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Antonio del Pollaiuolo (Italian,1431 –1498) was a renowned Florentine painter, sculptor, draftsman, and goldsmith who was particularly admired for his dynamic and expressive portrayal of the human figure. The Battle of the Nudes is reproduced in nearly all major art history and Renaissance art survey texts. The print is one of the earliest works of Renaissance art to convincingly portray the figure in motion and to suggest how muscles behave under the stress and strain of violent or vigorous activity. It belongs to the very inception of the Renaissance portrayal of the blatantly nude adult male, a motif inspired by classical art sources. The study of antique representations of the anatomy as well as mastering a repertory of harmonious and natural movements goes back to the early decades of the 15th century. Pollaiuolo showed exceptional skill in his imaginative adaptations of poses derived from antique sarcophagi and other ancient sculpture. A considerable part of Pollaiuolo’s intention was to demonstrate his capacities as a master draftsman of the figure, while exploring the potential of the new printmaking medium – a medium well suited to his skills as a metalworker and goldsmith.

 

References:

  1. Wikipedia

The stuff that inspires – ART