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Current time:0:00Total duration:4:27

Video transcript

are me June teenie I'm here with Robert Sommers we're looking at an impressionist painting the floor scrapers by Gustav type boat the floor scrapers is such a different depiction of manual labor than sake or baize painting of the stone breakers we're base stone breakers shows two men working outside breaking stones in the heat and this is car Bay's homage to the working poor now on the other hand you have kabocha who is painting three men inside this gorgeous room already made more gorgeous by the lighting what's interesting about this is that with core base image of the stone breakers the men are anonymous with these you can see their face and they're also half nude they're inside you would expect the stone breakers to be possibly half nude but they're not they're fully dressed as opposed to these men who are half nude and in this kind of a kneeling position scraping forward towards the artists simultaneously eroticizing the male body through the lighting and the highlighting of the muscles on the arms and backs which match the curvilinear lines on the raw iron just outside the window and also the light that's illuminating reflects the gold around the room giving it this kind of sensual feeling about it so he's centralizing the worker as opposed to what we could read corbeil is honoring or her own sizing the worker but this does not become a model for a lot of subsequent male nudes so do you think this was some kind of a troublesome image in some ways during the 1800s homosexuality was invented as an identity before then it was just an act committed an act of sodomy you could have been arrested the scientific community became a verifiable identity category and interestingly enough within the visual arts female nude roughly at the same time periods begins to disappear almost completely in replace of the female nude and I think that someone like Kai Boat who's been questioned by many as being same-sex oriented would paint such images he didn't have to worry about selling his images because he came from a wealthy family and so he could paint what he wanted to possibly desire for these working-class male body but I think there are definitely class issues at play here because Callebaut has painted these three men from a slightly superior position he's looking down on them and they are so a rata sized during this time period there was this self fashioning of the self by many men with money or who pretended their money such as Oscar Wilde or Marcel Proust or the artist that we're talking about here many people who enacted this kind of lifestyle that many would call decadent even in France during the time we're in expensive suits etc and the funner and the dandy are kind of examples of this figure what's interesting is that they were drawn to the working-class male body not the aristocratic body but the body of the working poor but that plays out here I think visually where you have cut boat painting these men in this scene of labour glorifying the body of the mill how come it didn't become a model for modernity I don't think it was a model for the modern European world which was and it remains to be heterosexually dominated because any reference to the male as erotic is always already troublesome at best