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date: 07 December 2019

Gloeden, Wilhelm, Baron vonlocked

(b Wolkashagen, nr Wismar, Mecklenburg, 1856; d Taormina, Sicily, 1931).
  • Italo Zannier

Extract

(b Wolkashagen, nr Wismar, Mecklenburg, 1856; d Taormina, Sicily, 1931).

German photographer. After studying at the academy in Wismar, von Gloeden painted for some years, but during his first years in Taormina, which he had reached at the end of the Grand Tour in 1874, he abandoned painting for photography. He learnt the dry collodion process from a local photographer, Giovanni Crupi, who was subsequently involved in selling his photographs.

Von Gloeden’s photography is characterized by classically oriented subjects, with models in antique costume placed against classical backgrounds in the natural landscape of Taormina; his models were local youths, and are almost always posed nude or semi-clothed in theatrical postures, creating erotic tableaux vivants (examples in Rochester, NY, Int. Mus. Phot.). Although his pictures are marked by an overt display of male nudity, there is also a tendency to use the nude symbolically, in the manner of contemporary Italian painters such as Aristide Sartorio, whom von Gloeden seems often to imitate. Von Gloeden, who was at the same time a member of the ...

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