Art History Hotties: Nino

7:00 AM

Paul Hoecker, Nino, 1904


Before I divulge into the details of our handsome friend Nino I think I should take you back to my first encounter with him. Flashback to me sitting in class and struggling to find a hottie, and then out of the blue - or more accurately the setting sun - I found Nino. If you are like me you might be wondering where this young fellow sprung up from and I’d like to tell you he arose like any other heartthrob - in the streets of Rome at the ripe old age of 14. According to Baron Jacques de Adelsward Fersen, Antonio (Nino) Cesarini, “immediately stole his heart.” Now Fersen was not your typical admirer but a man plagued by scandal and jail time after a few promiscuous outings involving other young men in Parison. So stricken with Nino’s beauty Fersen opted to bring him home to his sanctuary, Villa Lysis, in Capri. While there Nino attracted the attention of many, and became the subject of multiple works.

Paul Hoecker displayed his version of the famous model in 1904. Within his work he focuses on the outstanding profile of Nino. His perfectly chiseled abs, accompanied by a jawline of steel, and arms that invite you in. The position of hand mimics a tween girl yet if you look beyond you see the mesmerizing landscape behind you. By framing the painting with the landscape and the arch Hoecker makes the painting personal. I feel connected with Nino. He looks away at something in the distant but we stare. Stare at all of him. All the beauty that he is. Examine the exquisite curves of his delicate form. Nino represents an ageless grace.

Fersen bought Villa Lysis as a place where he could live without persecution. He welcomed to the estate other men who felt slighted by society. How unfortunate for society that while they accused and harassed that Fersen lived a luxurious life with the divine Nino. Hoecker’s painting serves as a reminder to the people who doubted Fersen that he quite frankly couldn’t give a damn about them. I mean let’s see... conform to society or spend your days basking the in sun with your boy toy. I’ll let you decide.

If you don't choose Nino shame on you. 

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