I recently discovered this prime cache of vintage paunch porn, thanks to two of my fave tweeples who shared this stash of 18th century “power paunches” as compiled by romance and “crimance” novelist Lucinda Brant, whose stories are set in that period.
An impressive collection of obviously wealthy and established Western European and white American gentlemen (with a high percentage of Connecticuters), I couldn’t stop looking at these cropped images that prove the obvious association in the 18th century of wealth and power with weight — poor people simply couldn’t afford to be so heavy since it required a prolific consumption of food and tireless pursuit of leisure.
When I think about men and their paunches, my thoughts inevitably lead to Peter Greenaway’s excellent 1987 film The Belly of an Architect, which tells the story of an architect who obsesses with his stomach as the center of his anxieties about his troubled marriage and growing health problems. Greenaway captures our contemporary obsession with weight, sexuality, and appearance in his story.
Looking at these men and their protruding stomachs, you can’t help but see them through our 21st century Western biases, which continue to idolize thinness. One figure that is noticeably absent from Brant’s collection, possibly because he falls out of the series’ purview (most of his portraits date from the early 19th century), is Daniel Lambert (1770–1809). The most famous obese person before our time, Lambert was so notably fat that he charged people to visit him in his London apartment — and coincidentally that bizarre mode of earning a living made him wealthy. At the time of his death he weighted 739 pounds (335 kg). I think we could agree that he is the owner of the true “power paunch” from which his wealth sprung.
These are just a small selection of Brant’s Pinterest board, and all captions are Brant’s own. And lest we forget that hipsters, according to a 2009 New York Times trend piece, have been reviving the paunch.
h/t @black_von and @petitemaoiste
“What does it mean to arrive from a country with a fascist regime?” asks Russian dissident artist Victoria Lomasko.
In the wake of Mahsa Amini’s death at the hands of “morality police,” artists and filmmakers across the world are voicing their support for protesters in Iran.
Artists reflect on histories of oppressive power structures in Brazil in this exhibition at the Visual Arts Center at the University of Texas at Austin.
The 200-year-old instrument, housed in the Library of Congress, has not been played by anyone else until now.
Though roiled by antisemitism allegations, 738,000 people attended, a modest 17% decline from the previous, pre-pandemic edition.
From exhibition catalogue pages marketed as original prints to brazenly fake “authorized” copies of Harings and Warhols, we’re living in a golden age of art piracy.
Ultimately the legacy of the classic modernist novel may reside in how attentively and scrupulously it concentrates on the music of tentative, shambolic, open-ended urban lives.
Funding options at UB include full-tuition scholarships for MFA students, the Arthur A. Schomburg Fellowship Program, and additional opportunities for MA students.
More than 100 modest and intimately scaled artworks in Still Life and the Poetry of Place provide glimpses into interiors, both humble and opulent.
Gladman’s poems suggest how ecological knowledge can affect how we can imagine cities.
With Moonage Daydream, director Brett Morgen sought to let Bowie’s music and philosophy hit in a whole new way, immersing audiences in an IMAX experience.