Photography

Mapplethorpe, Robert (1946 - 1989)

Born in a greatly religious environment, Robert Mapplethorpe nonetheless finds in New York’s 1970s underground scene his artistic path. Fueled by the quest for freedom of Afro-American, women and homosexuals and inspired by sculpture, he creates provocative yet highly stylized photographs where flowers and children mingle with close-ups of sexual organs and sadomasochistic portraits. In a way that evoked Greek figure vases, the American photographer created strong, uncluttered black and white compositions of statuesque nude models, conveying a classic and homoerotic sensibility. He also often played with different skin tones and sexual ambiguities to question innovative interpretations of race and gender along those of sexual preferences. Self-portraits dominated his take on portraiture, observing himself playing roles and questioning his true personality. While he entered popular culture's legend with his relationship with singer Patti Smith, Robert Mapplethorpe explicitly illustrated his gay sexuality in his art's imagery, depicting a world that until then had been kept behind closed doors. Thus defining his work as a lifelong quest for perfection that did not deny reality and the way it was meant to be represented.
 

Robert Mapplethorpe, Self-portrait as Cross-dresser, 1980
Robert Mapplethorpe, Self-portrait as Cross-dresser, 1980
Robert Mapplethorpe, Deborah Harry, 1978
Robert Mapplethorpe, Deborah Harry, 1978
Robert Mapplethorpe, Dennis Speight, 1983
Robert Mapplethorpe, Dennis Speight, 1983
Robert Mapplethorpe, Holly Solomon, 1976
Robert Mapplethorpe, Holly Solomon, 1976
Robert Mapplethorpe, Isabella Rosellini, 1988
Robert Mapplethorpe, Isabella Rosellini, 1988
Robert Mapplethorpe, Mariso, 1979
Robert Mapplethorpe, Mariso, 1979
Robert Mapplethorpe, Patti Smith, 1975
Robert Mapplethorpe, Patti Smith, 1975
Robert Mapplethorpe, Patti Smith, 1978
Robert Mapplethorpe, Patti Smith, 1978
Robert Mapplethorpe, Untitled, 1980
Robert Mapplethorpe, Untitled, 1980
Robert Mapplethorpe, Self-portrait, 1975
Robert Mapplethorpe, Self-portrait, 1975
Robert Mapplethorpe, Self-portrait with Cigarette, 1980
Robert Mapplethorpe, Self-portrait with Cigarette, 1980
Robert Mapplethorpe, Self-portrait, 1985
Robert Mapplethorpe, Self-portrait, 1985
Robert Mapplethorpe, Self-portrait, 1988
Robert Mapplethorpe, Self-portrait, 1988
Robert Mapplethorpe, Self-portrait, 1972
Robert Mapplethorpe, Self-portrait, 1972
Robert Mapplethorpe, Self-portrait, 1986
Robert Mapplethorpe, Self-portrait, 1986
Robert Mapplethorpe, William Burroughs, 1979
Robert Mapplethorpe, William Burroughs, 1979
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