Robert Mapplethorpe’s King Lovers (+ More Photos of Nude Men Wearing Crowns)

I’ve always been intrigued by the work of Robert Mapplethorpe. I originally learned of his career in college, taking a photography class which discussed censorship. The revealing self-portrait above was taken in 1973, almost 40 years before the advent of the phenomena. It was also used as an invitation to one of Mapplethorpe’s exhibits. I mean, who wouldn’t RSVP?

I became even more invested after reading Patti Smith’s book documenting the two artists’ friendship. Just Kids was one of my favorite selections from the Magnet Book Club. My favorite Mapplethorpe photo is the one below, of two men embracing wearing only crowns.

Since it’s one of my favorite visuals, I’ve taken note of other similar photos I’ve seen.

Last month I saw a small exhibit of Mapplethorpe portraits at the Getty Center in L.A. An extended, uncensored exhibit is coming to LACMA later this year.

Oscar Raymundo
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