A skilfully composed garden scene by Wilhelm von Gloeden, taken toward the end of the 19th century at his villa in Taormina, Sicily.
A superb example of von Gloeden’s late 19th century photographs, the softer subtle lighting of a cloudy day allowing this Sicilian model’s strong and sensual masculine beauty to be captured in a perfect, exquisitely detailed clarity. Glorious!
A luminously beautiful photograph by Wilhelm von Gloeden, taken in the sumptuous setting of his own Mediterranean garden (the very same spot as seen here); white foliage with velvety-bloom, a fallen leaf against his foot, the hollyhock grasped lazily in one hand. Do take a moment to view this gorgeous portrait full size, as the clarity and detail are quite marvellous, we can savour every last curve and contour of his lovely form, right down to the creases in his skin. In the upper border of the negative is marked the catalogue number (1600) and the precise date on which this photograph was taken, the 16th of June, 1899.
A treasure from Guglielmo Plüschow, a young man of exquisite poise and singularly fine form, seated so delightfully delicately on the sumptuous rich fabrics of satin sheen and soft folds, and framed by prettily dishevelled flowers. His deep dark sun tan with lighter marks and palest chest, leads my mind to wonder what he may do for a living, wearing sometimes shorts and short sleeves, other times clearly no more than a vest. Many of the models were fishermen or farm labourers in their everyday lives, transformed for just a few moments into something sublime; these timeless beauties captured forever for our admiration.
The perfect postcard to send home from Taormina at the turn of the century, particularly to gentlemen friends of similar tastes : See, what delights you are missing out on! Rather than showing merely the scenery or glorious sunny beaches, the daring holidaymaker could provide those left behind with a teasing glimpse of the tantalising temptations to be found here, as typified by this vintage card with a photograph by Gaetano D'Agata.
Two young male models, posing in the interior of Wilhelm von Gloeden’s home in Taormina, 1895-1900. The lavish furnishings and detailed painted walls really give this an exotic, luxurious look.
(Oh how I’d love to live there. Maybe I’ll paint patterns on my wall and make-believe that it’s as warm in Autumnal England as in the perpetually sun-drenched Italian scenes von Gloeden and his contemporaries photographed)