Handsome Men They Are is an unusual album/catalogue of an exhibition which took place in the Museum of Modern Art w Saitama in 2021. It features all the art from the exhibition: over 200 paintings, photographs and other works of art chose to attempt to define the male beauty ideal. While the images of beautiful women, called “bijin-ga”, have always played a big part in Japanese art, the male beauty is not so well-defined.
From traditional painting scenes from court life to experimental photography, from woodcuts to modernist posters to anime, the album presents a wide choice of images of male characters – lovers, warriors, actors, aristocrats, athletes … The selection of exhibits is often unexpected and therefore fascinating, and it certainly makes you wonder if it’s possible to to define male beauty at all.
Besides a very short introduction in English, the book is entire in Japanese, but it doesn’t stop from appreciating all the wonderful visuals!