Australia 1911 – 1992

Athlete (Quoit thrower) 1937 Creation Notes: This photograph was published in The Home, 1 DEC 1937: p. 47
Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph

Primary Insc: signed and dated in composition, bottom r. " Max Dupain '38"; signed and dated in border, bottom r.'Max Duapain'37" titled, green pen, lower l. "Athlete" verso, green pen, upper l. " Section 1/1/ " Athlete"/ -Max Dupain/ 24 Bond St/ Sydney"; upper r. 7.7.0"; pencil, upper l. "1938", centre l. " I" square ( illeg)
Dimensions: printed image 38.0 h x 40.0 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1982
Accession No: NGA 82.1101
Subject: Nude: male
  • Dupain’s photographs from the 1930s often contain classical allusions. Fashion photographs and advertisements, society portraits, and exhibition photographs included depictions of classical statuary or subjects that assumed a classical form. The stance the athlete takes, as if to throw a discus, is modelled on the Discobolus, a well-known statue from Greek antiquity which has been endlessly copied. Dupain’s interest in classical corporeality was common to post-First World War Australia, where references to the classical ‘bodily perfection’ of young Australian men and women were often drawn. It also reflects Dupain’s interest in vitalism, the belief that human life is defined by a type of vital energy contained in the body. The references to classical antiquity point towards an idealised relationship of natural and sensual worlds in ancient Greece and Rome. The image was published in The Home in December 1937.

    Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra