Derrick Cross (1983)
About this artwork
This is one of many photographs in which Mapplethorpe focuses on a part of the body. The surrealist artist Man Ray had taken similar photographs of a torso, but had given greater emphasis to the face-like appearance of the body with nipples as eyes and navel as mouth. Mapplethorpe’s photograph is much more a study of muscular form. With the draped fabric around his waist, similarities can also be drawn with classical sculpture.
- title: Derrick Cross
- accession number: AR00194
- artist: Robert MapplethorpeAmerican (1946 - 1989)
- gallery: In Storage
- object type: Photograph
- subject: Nudity
- medium: Gelatine silver print
- date created: 1983
- measurements: 50.80 x 40.60 cm (framed: 75.00 x 62.00 cm)
- credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
- copyright: © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.
- photographer: Antonia Reeve
The American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe became famous, not to say, notorious, in the 1970s and 1980s for his photographs of the male nude and sexually explicit, gay imagery. Although often considered controversial, Mapplethorpe tested the right to individual freedom of expression. These images were not meant to be titillating or obscene but beautiful in a traditionally classical way. His work, therefore, holds a significant place in the history of artistic struggle to depict the world as it is, with honesty and truth. His nudes, when considered alongside his portraits of children and flower photographs, show him to be overwhelmingly interested in the beauty and transience of life. Mapplethorpe, even when facing death from AIDS, affirmed the beauty of the here and now.