L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Model with tapestry - Tony Sansone

I haven't been able to identify the photographer of these images, but they were probably taken early in Sansone's modeling career; he generally posed completely nude.


Anthony Joseph Sansone (19 September 1905, New York City - 13 January 1987, Brooklyn), Italian-American physical culturist and model. Born the son of Sicilian immigrants, at the age of two he contracted scarlet fever soon followed by typhoid fever; doctors advised his parents that his heart had been weakened as a result of his illnesses, and that he would always need to avoid too much physical activity. He had other ideas, though, and soon became interested in sports and acrobatics and, eventually, bodybuilding. At eighteen he won a Charles Atlas-sponsored contest, but decided against bodybuilding as a career. Instead, he continued modeling, something he had begun to do while still in his teens. In addition, during the mid to late Twenties he studied dance, eventually being featured in the David Belasco Broadway extravaganza "Mima". By this time he was also married, and he and his wife had two children together.

Sansone went on to become a much sought-after physique model for important photographers, painters, and sculptors. He was featured on many magazine covers, both in the United States and in Europe. During the Depression, Sansone also earned money by selling pictures of himself through mail-order ads and published several photo books, sales of which eventually topped fifteen thousand copies. In 1934 he opened his first gym - which he preferred to call a "body culture studio" - and went on to own and operate three. In the Sixties his son took over the business and Sansone and his wife went on to do volunteer work, especially working with underprivileged children. After more than sixty years together, his wife died of Alzhiemer's at the beginning of 1987. A week later, after his own five year struggle with colon cancer, Sansone died at the age of eight-one.

Photographs of Sansone - often taken by Edwin F. Townsend, almost always fully nude - are legendary. Renowned for the inventiveness and grace of his poses, he has often been called the perfect example of classical male beauty. Never interested in the muscle bulk that typifies modern bodybuilding, Sansone was as much an artist as an athlete, and his aesthetic ambition was always to present the male form in the peak of health, lithely strong, and at its most graceful. Charles Atlas called him "The Most Beautiful Man in America." And a physical-culture historian later stated that, "If Sansone had been born in Greek antiquity, he would have been immortalized as a god."

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