The male gaze.
The Judgement of Men is a painting about male menace, predatory behaviour and misogyny.
I must admit to having been, only on rare occasions, one of those men; sitting in a group, talking loudly and ogling women walking past. I do feel a little embarrassed, and feel also a sense of complicity. Perhaps that’s why the male gaze has become a recurring theme in my recent work; maybe I’m seeking redemption. In my defence, I grew up when Miss World and Benny Hill were primetime family viewing.
I was particularly interested in painting something based on The Judgement of Paris, because it really is such an anachronism in the present day, and seems to me an epitome of the male gaze. For the character of Paris, I painted a figure with more than a passing resemblance to Prince Andrew; looking somewhat disempowered in his nakedness. By his side, to replace Hermes (Mercury) in the original Rubens paintings, I painted someone resembling Jeffrey Epstein. Amongst other things, Mercury is the god of financial gain, eloquence, trickery, and thieves; he also serves as the guide of souls to the underworld.
Above is the source of my inspiration – The Judgement of Paris painted by Peter Paul Rubens in 1636. It shows Rubens’ version of idealised feminine beauty, with the goddesses Aphrodite, Athena and Hera on one side and Paris accompanied by Hermes
Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.