Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Shhhhhhhhh!!! Why are Naked Men Playing Baseball in the Great Library of Congress?

MEN, SUMMER AND BALLS

VGMH figures that any excuse for nine athletic men to strip down naked together is a good thing, so finding out that there's legitimate vintage artwork (versus something scribbled on the urinal privacy screens with a sharpie pen in the men's room) is downright fantastic! Now, the idea of having no protection while playing baseball may not be the best idea in the world, but what the heck. After all, the mural was designed to be similar to ancient Greek and Roman athletes, befitting the architecture of the Great Hall in the Library of Congress.


You have to really know where to look and what you're looking for, but the painting, which has been on the library's ceiling since 1897, includes one man who holds a catcher's chest protector and another guy who has a catcher's mask, but otherwise, they're stark naked.

Of the five images depicting athletic games that are painted, the (naked) baseball and football male images are the only ones showing men playing American sports. They were painted by the same artist, Frederick C. Martin, in the late 19th century.

2 comments:

  1. Interesting Stuff! It makes you wonder who was on the commitee back then when the building was being coordinated, and what were they thinking? Perhaps it was someone's wild idea of a subliminal message. Maybe it's someone's quirky idea of "Greece meets America"; American athletes are like Greek olympians? [A tie in with Greek architecture, as many of the buildings were.] Who knows? But it's fascinating! Maybe a closer look at Frederick C. Martin would answer the question; what was he thinking?

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  2. In the 1930's they called the man to the far left Oscar (the workers at the library who knew about it) fun tidbits.

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