To my readers......

SITE UPDATE NOTICE

Thanks for visiting mitchmen, home of Mitchell's Gay Art

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Message updated 6th Mar 2021

Sunday, 30 August 2020

The Art of Amalaric, Part 3 - Hunks and Their Manipulators

 Forced slavery is a recurring theme in Amalaric's work, but other stories have subtler entrapment scenarios. In these tales, some of the attractive young men which are a hallmark of Amalaric's images get extended roles in plots which showcase their physical beauty and unveil the destructive lust that it generates in other men. Unlike the heroic, but ruthless, Owein in 'Gladiator', these men are typically characterised as ordinary, nice guys with physical jobs and the sort of sex lives you would expect to go with their looks. But they tend to have personalities and weaknesses that make them vulnerable to manipulation and intimidation and this allows skilful predators to isolate and exploit them. 

 

301 Ryan At Work (from 'Bobby')

Ryan (above) is one of the most memorable. He works on a farm where his underwear-revealing jeans and predilection for stripping off his T-shirt catches the eye of the farmer's son, Bobby. This is one of number of scene-setting images in which Amalaric pays homage to Ryan's beauty, by showing him hard at work, unaware of our interest in him.

302 Bobby Fantasises

Ryan hardly notices Bobby, who has to content himself with watching him at work and fantasising about imprisoning him in the basement (above). The Ryan of Bobby's imaginings has a glorious muscular torso and 'open fly sag' which cries out for attention. However, it seem Ryan's disinterest in Bobby even persists in his fantasies and the visual disconnect between the two men in this picture underlines the fact that it's just an illusion, not reality. Bobby seems a sad, lonely, insignificant figure, with a diminutive stature that matches his diminutive name.

However there is much more to Bobby that that. He bides his time and eventually catches Ryan burgling the farmhouse (a foolish attempt get recompense for wages he thinks he is owed). Threatened with incriminating photos and the Police, Ryan agrees to take a summary punishment from Bobby instead. He imagines he can handle anything the insignificant Bobby can come up with, it will only be some minor humiliation, maybe a bit painful. Bobby makes him wait to find out.

303 Ryan Arrives To Take His Punishment

In this image Ryan reports for his punishment as agreed, putting on a brave front. He has unwittingly dressed himself in Amalaric's standard punishment attire - white Tee-shirt and blue jeans - displaying nipple and crotch details that seem unlikely to diminish Bobby's lust for him.

Ryan is surprised to find that Bobby has brought in some hard-looking friends to help him, one here brandishing a cane. But Bobby gives Ryan no chance to change his mind, he immediately takes control, unbuckling Ryan's belt and pulling out his shirt. Ryan is paralysed by the combination of Bobby's assertiveness, the agreement they made and the presence of the other men. He allows himself to be handcuffed.

They force him to run to a remote, abandoned shed, still handcuffed and at the end of a tether which is strung between his legs inside his jeans, chafing his crotch. Humiliating? Tick. Slightly painful? Tick. 

So far at any rate......

304 Ryan Is Forcibly Stripped

In this image we sense Ryan's bewilderment as the gang begin to properly strip him of his clothes in the dark, secluded hideaway. The ritualistic significance of gradual undressing pervades Amalaric's work and this half-mast position is another regular 'Station of Disrobement'. Bobby (left) coolly surveys his idol, helpless in his power at last, although Ryan is still ignoring him. But this is just the beginning, they have plenty of time to fix that. I won't spell out the rest of the story but Ryan suffers grievous physical pain and sexual humiliation before Bobby lets him go.

Despite his lust for Ryan, Bobby doesn't go beyond groping him and administering a dildo. He remains fully clothed throughout. This outcome is not unusual in Amalaric's stories. Sexual intercourse is not a given. It is sometimes hinted at, sometimes happens but usually it isn't described and if you're not attentive you may miss the allusion! Sexual illustrations and erections, are equally rare (although many doctored images circulate).

Afterwards Bobby doesn't bother Ryan again, the affair stays their secret, with Ryan's silence guaranteed by the incriminating photographs of his bungled burglary.

'Bobby' is not a tale of enslavement but of power wielded through a mixture of clever manipulation and assertiveness. Ryan is not Bobby's first victim in the story, nor will he be the last, but his tale is a notable read for the way he delivers himself into the predator's hold, partly out of arrogance, not suspecting the real danger until it's too late.


305 Prison Guard Rusty Gets The Shock Of His Life

That is not the end of the story. Eventually, years later, Bobby picks on the wrong guy and is caught. Ryan comes out to testify against him and Bobby is sent to prison where he suffers the usual, stereotypical abuse from inmates and Guards. But in a bravura reprise of his manipulative skills he gains revenge and brings down a more worthy target - the brutal, bullying Guard, 'Rusty' who loses his job as well as his underwear in a painful termination interview. In this spectacular image, the snaking wires show Rusty's energetic writhing in response to a vicious electro assault as Bobby's sadism, steadily escalating throughout the narrative, plumbs new extremes.

You'll have to read 'Bobby' at Aquadude Bunker to find out the rest.

 

306 Todd Sanders – TS3 Asked to complete the equation

There are similarities between the story of Ryan and that of Todd Sanders (above), not least the physical appearance of the 'leading actor' which obviously presses buttons for this artist. Todd's torment originates in an educational institution for older students where he is sent (unwillingly) to get a maths qualification that has long eluded him.

Todd's rebellious attitude and striking appearance immediately make him stand out and attract the interest of the Course Lecturer whose secret fetish interests are triggered and become an increasing obsession focussed on Todd. Eventually The Lecturer finds a way to make it a reality and begins his campaign by putting Todd's (lack of) maths knowledge to the test in front of the whole class (above).

Todd is humiliated by this and makes an angry scene, but the Lecturer takes him aside and confronts him with CCTV evidence of his having had illicit sex with another student on the premises. He agrees to do anything to avoid expulsion and possible Police action. You will observe he has come to class conveniently dressed in the Amalaric, come and get me, punishment outfit.

307 TS6 Todd Forced To Strip

Back in front of the other students, Todd is told his bad behaviour will be punished with corporal punishment. He wasn't expecting this, but terrified of his misdemeanour being reported and intimidated by the status of the Lecturer and the eager, watching audience, he submits, just as Ryan did in similar circumstances, but Todd's downfall takes a different direction.

Todd is forced to progressively strip naked in front of the class while the Lecturer delivers an impromptu seminar on male anatomy and the theory and practice of corporal punishment using him as a demonstration model. You have to read the story to understand how this monstrous feat of totally humiliating a grown man is accomplished. The step by step pacing ensures Todd doesn't forget the awful alternative if he refuses and it gets harder and harder for him to escape. This is just one of a number of erotic images depicting this public humiliation, with the half-lowered underpants showing sexy glimpse of pubes (another erotic 'Station of Disrobement')

308 TS9 Todd Sanders Publicly Spanked

‘I think we will reserve Todd’s buttocks for the exclusive attention of the paddle.’ 

With those words Todd finally learns the full flavour of his humiliation and Amalaric has selected a delicious bottom for him to offer up for his public paddling debut, which includes the added embellishment and embarrassment of fellow students joining in as spankers..

Afterwards, their agreement is honoured and the CCTV recording is destroyed. Todd has got off more lightly than Ryan did and the lingering threat of failing his course deters him from speaking out. However the Lecturer's desire for him has not been satisfied and shortly afterwards Todd's laddish personality delivers him back into the Devil's eager hands, when he transgresses US drinking age laws.

309 TS16 Todd Sanders Lowers His Jeans

Todd's reports to the Lecturer's house for his second chastisement, relieved that at least it's going to be in private. Once again he is made to perform a strip, once again he displays his delicious buns. Amalaric captures beautifully this moment of dejected compliance, allowing us to peek over the Lecturer's shoulder and share his unbridled lust. A belt lashing follows but Todd, the archetypal author of his own misfortune, foolishly complains that he is being treated like a child. He is allowed to redress and persuaded to descend to the basement to complete his punishment in a more manly, fully clothed fashion.

310 TS22 Todd Sanders in the X-Frame

In the basement Todd is greeted by this chunky timber frame. It has the dark flavour of the guillotine and the gallows but he is too naïve and too intimidated to guess it's true import. He does start to object but with a mixture of guile and assertiveness, the Lecturer pushes him into it and manacles his wrists before Todd is able to summon the will to refuse.

At this point Todd is doomed and the cosy, private punishment scenario vanishes as two of his fellow students turn up to watch the show. Despite the promises given by the lecturer, he is ritualistically stripped and secured before being given the lash.

X-Restraint is much favoured by Amalaric. It comes in various guises and plays host to most of his abductees at some point in their ordeals. This highly refined 'X-Frame' must be the high altar of that fetish and is the subject of much image experimentation, most recently for example, in the little story of 'Buddy and the Bookies debt' and, with Todd demonstrating again, 'The Ultimate X-Frame' (don't you believe it!), both at Aquadude Bunker.

Amalaric's pictures sometimes have a slightly 'posed' look but in stories like this one they are not intended as a stand alone snapshot of the action, but as an accompaniment to a lengthy narrative, priming, teasing and giving visual clues to details which are difficult to describe in words alone (like the X-frame). They don't even necessarily match the narrative exactly but can give a slightly different perspective or dimension. Illustration 303 above, 'Ryan Arriving for Punishment' is an example of this. He's actually wearing a top-shirt over his T-shirt when he first arrives and there is no mention of the cane in the story but the image certainly embellishes the atmosphere!

311 Todd Sanders Cock Whipped

Todd suffers multiple humiliations and horrors in the basement (along similar lines to Ryan) before he is released. As a gratuitous extra he is the recipient of a cock whipping finale. The Inverted-Y restraint shown here is designed for that specific purpose, spreading the legs wide to allow easy access. The green colouring of the picture seems to express Todd's deep-seated nausea generated by this ordeal.

(This cbt is a separate, belated punishment for his original sexual delinquency, apparently the intense, public spanking was merely given for bad behaviour in class).

In these pictures Todd seems to be accepting his ordeal stoicly but he certainly doesn't suffer in silence. If you're wondering why he doesn't go straight to the Police afterwards you need to read the Todd Sanders story at Aquadude Bunker which ends with a cruel twist.

~

The manner in which Ryan and Todd are lured to their fates, having provided the rope to hang themselves makes for fascinating reading. Amalaric is a skilful persuader but these stories would seem incredible were it not for the plentiful evidence of real life that many people are simply too nice, too innocent or simply not quick enough or strong enough to resist determined operators and their blackmail - even when they sense the consequences will be dire.

But the story of Dave McGuiness in '24 hours' takes that to another level.........


312 Examination in Haskyn's Office

Dave McGuinness is a hunky, construction worker who tries to persuade a heartless Banker not to foreclose on his parent's mortgage. So he's a 'nice guy'. The image above might suggest that he's using his male allure to influence the discussion, but this is actually his first 'task' after agreeing (in writing) to an arrangement that postpones payment of the debt in exchange for him doing jobs for the banker at his house. This Tee-shirt lifting is prompted by the banker's flirtatious wife, but in the picture it's the banker who looks as if he's about to eat him - and who can blame him given those extraordinarily grope-able jeans and the teasing glimpse of underwear?

313 First Taste Of The Strap (24 Hours)

Dave agrees to start work the same afternoon but when he arrives he's accused of being late and learns that the Agreement of Indentured Servitude which he's signed entitles the banker to punish him for any misconduct. Mindful of the fragility of his parent's position, he submissively bends over the settee presenting the lustful banker with an enticing view of his worn, work jeans. His slightly out-of-kilter pose reflects his impetuous, 'get it over with' attitude which has already led him into murky waters and this incongruous display in an ordinary living room exemplifies the topsy-turvy storyline. Dave accepts a humiliating, full-length, strap spanking before going out into the garden to work. The thick denim material might mitigate his pain somewhat, but as the uniform of his masculine, working man's identity, it amplifies his degradation.

314 Jarhead Revisited

As the day wears on, getting hotter and hotter, Dave is forced by his 'employer' to progressively strip off items until he only has his underpants on, not even boots. During this time he receives escalating punishments for laziness and insubordination. He knows he shouldn't accept this treatment but is cowed by the Banker's status, his threats, legalistic gobbledegook and the freely used, heavy strap.

Finally Dave is so confused that he even allows the Banker to shackle his ankles, supposedly to curb his temper and with that his grooming to be a prisoner is complete. In the classic, naked workman image above he looks understandably lost, confused and humiliated, perhaps imagining how his workmates would mock him for effectively volunteering for enslavement and working in underwear and shackles.

N.B. The picture title is a reference to the film 'Jarhead' (2005). Dave is a former Marine and the banker taunts him about a scene in the film in which a new recruit is branded. You'll have to read the story at Gay Bondage Fiction (link below) to find out what happens to Dave.


315 Dave Rides The Orient Express

Once Dave succumbs to wearing shackles the pretence of a work contract is dropped, he realises he won't be allowed to go home as the Banker and his wife both seek to make the ex-Marine their personal sex slave.

His refusal brings down ever more brutal punishments on himself, including a memorable scene where he spends hours suspended in Shibari bondage whose devastating effects Amalaric describes in telling terms. Dave becomes an accessory for the Banker's passion for all things Asian, his suffering body is just another display item in a show of wealth and exquisite taste.

‘Please, man, don’t leave me like this’.

These are the workman's plaintive words as he's left with the rapidly escalating pain to reflect on his rapidly diminishing options.

316 The Banker's Playroom

The story climaxes in the Banker's basement playroom where this simple variation on the X-restraint prepares Dave for his sexual submission, which the Banker is making a last effort to talk him into. On the way there have been escape attempts and a special guest appearance by the dreaded 'Bobby' who unleashes his own uniquely electric ability to inflict intense pain and humiliation. He forces the ex-Marine to submit to a dildo but at a terrible cost and there's still no real gratification for the Banker.

'24 Hours' is tale of entrapment and heroic resistance. Although his captors subject the Dave to repeated humiliations and truly terrible abuse, they struggle to extinguish his spirit. He is exhaustively groped and sexually tortured but avoids true sexual intimacy with any of his captors. It is a typically-Amalaric story of suspense with a bizarre but believable entrapment scenario, the victim's gradual separation from the outside world (symbolised by the loss of his workman's clothing) and the mounting horror of his incarceration. The title tells you this story has a 'proper' ending and it is one that is both unexpected and clever.

(from '24 Hours' at Gay Bondage Fiction)

~

Ryan, Todd and Dave all suffer undeserved imprisonment and punishments (which I've largely glossed over here). But they all contribute to their own downfall with mistakes and misjudgements. They can all see that they're being exploited and that it's escalating out of control, but somehow can't quite believe it and fail to take the chance to escape, delaying too long for fear of the alternative consequences until suddenly they are trapped and the predator can drop his pretence. But their behaviour is actually very human and endearing and of course, the last thing we want is for them to cut and run. No, they endure their extraordinary fates with manly fortitude and live to tell the tale – except that for one reason or another, they can't tell.

And so it goes on......

Next time:- Step by Step Guide To Undressing A Man For Captivity

 Read this series from Part 1

Thursday, 27 August 2020

The Art of Amalaric, Part 2 - Ancient History

201 The Spoils Of War

No-one knows who invented slavery, but it was certainly practised by the Romans and this 'family portrait' echoes the sentiment expressed in 'Warlord' in Part 1, that a fine-looking slave (with quality tackle) is a possession to be proud of. All the more so if he is a conquered enemy.

The slave's own opinion looks (understandably) less enthusiastic about this arrangement, but his look is sensibly neutral. He perhaps realises that he is the find of a lifetime for men of a certain inclination and is resigned to ending up in the hands (literally) of the richest of them. The shaft of light falling on the his shoulder seems to emphasise how special he is, relegating his rich owner to the shadows. (Notice how Amalaric has aligned the lighting with that on the wall behind*).

This slave has a rather modern look about him that allows us to fantasise about a time travelling gym bunny who finds his attention-getting physique is an unexpected disadvantage in this era.

*This image is also incorporated into a larger work 'A Few Good Men' @Telemachus with lighting that is quite different. This image can also be seen with the Senator differently-posed in '1001 Nights No 246' @Aquadude. Amalaric's predilection for revising and re-using his ingredients is a feature of his work that will become more apparent as we delve deeper. 

 

202 Afternoon Delight

This image shows a delighted Senator Balbus lecturing his handsome, new slave on the House Rules, a lesson that will be driven home afterwards with a humiliating, introductory whipping. Rufus Scipio was once a free man, now he is reduced to slavedom,. Despite his demotion, he is still proud enough to take any punishment without complaint, which always goes down well with slave owners. In truth he has no choice, for enslavement is part of the legal system in this world and (in theory) applicable to all classes as a punishment. The chain that tethers him to the majestic columns of this villa, ultimately symbolises his subordination to the might of Rome.

With this image the artist conjures up a domestic moment in a Roman slave household. It illustrates the vast gulf which exists between the wealthy owner and his slaves in terms of status, money and refinement. His slaves have nothing but whatever he chooses to give them, although there's a reverse disparity in physical strength and, outwardly at least, in masculinity.

The dog shows the Senator's liking for pets and reflects his hope that Rufus will become one of them, like his existing slave standing with head respectfully bowed in the foreground and no doubt calculating the effect of the new arrival on the pecking order.

Afternoon Delight @Telemachus

 

203 Dionysius Cordarum

Quintus (centre) is a Roman soldier who deserted the Army and like Rufus he has been condemned to become a slave. Amelia (right) purchases him and for a while he has visions of becoming her 'bed slave' until she has him strung him up (in the classic Amalaric X-restraint). He then learns that he has been purchased as a gift for her drunken brothers, who take pleasure in torturing young men.

The title of this picture is the name of the disgusting servant seen here tormenting the captive slave before the brothers get going. Amalaric translates it as 'Dennis of the Ropes' but Dionysus is also the God of wine and mayhem so there's an alternative sense of a god-like man being bound as a centrepiece for a drunken orgy.

This is an early work and Amalaric regards the series as relatively crude, but this image has an earthy substance. The tethered slave seems starkly real, glowing with life in an otherwise slightly misty scene that seems to reflect the drunkenness of those around him. He looks genuinely stretched too, the awkward positioning of the feet an authentic indicator of his discomfort. Only the lofty, cruel woman who has engineered this cruel drama stands out sharply, underlining her deceit. Cruel women turn up in other Amalaric stories as well, helping to despatch straight men to sexual hell.

(from Roman Army Deserter - not publicly available at the moment)

204 Young Crusader

This simple but attractive image powerfully conveys Amalaric's love of the male form. He plucks men from mundane modelling existences and casts them into adventures that make hay of their maleness and desirability. This image conjures up visions of young travellers in distant lands being made captive, deprived of their clothes and possessions, put in chains and left in darkness to imagine a fate worse than death.

The loin cloth is redolent of the Ancient World and a near identical garment features in the picture I used for my introductory post for this series, 'The Disciplined Argonaut' set in ancient Greece (ca 500 BC). We see the loin cloth as the ancient equivalent of modern underwear but the very similar fundoshi of Japan and langots of India seem more direct descendants and their modern connections with wrestling and athletic endeavour align more naturally with the jockstrap.

But unlike any of these modern counterparts, ancient loincloths seem emblematic of a lowly status and have become a uniform for the condemned too, thanks to centuries of Christian crucifixion imagery. That link makes it uncomfortable and ironic garb for this prisoner in a scenario set during the intensely religious wars of the Crusades (ca 1200 AD). The loin cloth is not the normal apparel of a Crusader, it augments the fetters on his wrists as a symbol of his captivity and degradation.

The looseness of Amalaric's garment is suggestive of easy dressing (and removal!) but aficionados will know it also supplies the wearer with sensual pleasure as well as comfort (a quality it shares with baggy tighty-whiteys). 

 

205 Destined For The Bed Chamber

The enmity between the sides who fought the Crusades was bitter and this young man has a touch of hardness in his look that one can imagine translating into the sort of ruthlessness that earns a man no friends. Preparing to face his captor, he adopts a brave stance, defiant in the face of a whip and a snarling, wild animal.

He has now lost the last veil of his modesty, but despite that he seems to have grown in stature from the previous image, with an attitude verging on swagger. Primed to expect brutal treatment he is perhaps deceived by the soft, plush furnishings of the Sheik's apartments. The title tells us that this captured soldier is facing a degrading evening, perhaps the first of many. More that that, he is destined to experience the terrors of the night from one who desires men but loves their fear even more.

Like other historical pieces it's easy to imagine this man as a GI who got separated from his unit and was spotted by a despot's lackey as suited to his master's tastes. The luxuriant apartment is probably more Disneyland than Damascus but I suppose that connection is not entirely without relevance. Is this Beauty about to be Beasted?

The figures on the right can also be spotted in Marrakech (secret MOSLA operatives perhaps?).

(these last two images from The Crusader at Telemachus)

 

206 The Pilgrim

This rather different loin cloth image is extraordinarily sexy. It can also be seen adorning a different man entirely, a blond adonis in the 125th of 1001 Nights at Aquadude and comparing the pictures gives an insight into the extent of Amalaric's manipulations (which are enlarged on in the comments). The sheer process of transplanting clothing from one man to another must give him an erotic thrill, GI Joe/Action Man for adults! In this image the cleverly-matched tones lend authenticity to a scene that is actually compiled from both photographic and painted art sources.

In this story a pious Christian pilgrim travelling to Jerusalem becomes an unwitting casualty of the shifting politics of the region. Taken prisoner, he sees how other captives are sold and put to hard work under the lash. The image shows him watching his fellow pilgrims being haggled over while awaiting his own fate. He prays to God for deliverance and in a cruel irony his purchased body is indeed spared hard labour, but his religious fervour is re-purposed into the worship of a new Lord and Master, his congregation the members of an all-male harem.

Illustration for “The Pilgrim, Tales of the Crusades Part 2” by Jean Cristophe at Aquadude


207 A Gathering Storm

Another memorable, sexy loincloth image showcasing the garment's ability to embellish punishment scenarios, here seeming more exposing of those luscious buns than total nudity would be. This image is also remarkable for it's dramatic setting, a domed basilica of immense grandeur, under which the naked man in his vulgar, skimpy, loincloth is dwarfed as though doomed to be the insignificant offering in a momentous, ceremonial rite. The crazy angle seems to give the scene an unreal, nightmarish quality.

The lonely, condemned captive gazes up towards the distant window overhead whose light seems to give his body a mystical, portentous glow. In the storyline this man is another Roman Army deserter who has been caught and condemned to be sold into slavery, but first he must be flogged. We know Romans did sometimes wear their hair short, but the jar-head severity of this man's cut seems an apt reflection of his new status as prisoner and perhaps the discipline of his now-ended military career.

(image from Gladiator at Telemachus, link below)


208 A Gift For The Caliph

This startling image is again cast in the era of the Crusades, witness the sword casually propped against the wall, tantalising close to it's owner. The Caliph regards his gift with one of those unfathomable looks we ascribe to cultures we don't understand, but it's not hard to imagine him 'visually devouring' that seductive torso and what hangs below (suggestively aligned with his foot).

Amalaric describes this setting as 'the dungeon' which would account for the state of the wall tiles. The background scene brings the word 'stable' more to mind (or whatever it is that elephants are housed in). The location and the presence of this beast implies that the naked Crusader is seen as no more than an animal and that even the greatest of beasts a subject to the Caliph's will. There are some other interesting interpretations of the foreground imagery at the link below.

This is one of a series of images based by Amalaric on paintings of life in the Middle East. These were produced at a time when the region was 'discovered' as a startlingly different and immensely picturesque and romantic part of the world (around the turn of the 19th century). Amalaric's skill in dovetailing photographic ingredients into them is impressive and demonstrates his love of conventional, traditional paint artistry which I also hinted at in the cop's jail cell scene in Part 1. Cock-watchers may recognise another friend from Part 1 (Welcome to MOSLA). Amalaric has given him a new head which I find immensely sexy.

(from  A Gift For The Caliph at Aquadude)


209 Purveyors to the Mamluk Court

In this image, the artist cleverly substitutes men for carpets, creating a ready-made slave emporium in full flow. The whip handle, just visible in the foreground gives the captives food for thought as they wait.

There's no narrative for this series but Mamluks were slaves who became soldiers and became established as a warrior class of higher status, even rising to rule some Muslim domains. They were instrumental in driving the Crusaders out of the Holy Land which is presumably what is referenced here. Their background as slaves adds a frisson to the plight of their captives although it's also possible to see this is a recruitment scenario rather than the simple purchase of European servants.

Amalaric is following a well-trodden path here, the original Middle Eastern scenes were intended as documentary reflections of the culture but inspired other artists to produce slave market scenes in the same style, usually with female 'harem' stereotypes on offer. These images are interesting in that your intellect quickly tells you these are a synthesis of paintings and photographs, but it's rather more difficult for the eye to see, particularly when the 'real men' are placed in the foreground where the difference in textures and tones simply creates a distancing effect.


210 The Courtyard of the Mamluk Sultan

This, I think, is the best of them all. An integration that is almost impossible to see at first sight and glorious colouring carried through to the captive's head of glowing red hair - a quirk calculated to arouse the Sultan's interest. Even the recycled figure of the ruler seems to have subtly changed in this imagining, although his gaze remains as steely and impenetrable as ever, despite being presented with another splendidly muscular, defenceless torso that cries out to be touched and embraced. The yawning dark doorway which the captive faces is a shiveringly sinister detail.

The impact of this image owes much to it's simplicity which notably contrasts with the complexity of the Caliph image above. It's erotic power is triggered by the bound, naked figure, but resides mostly in our imaginations. Great Art!

211 Roman Captives of the Celts

'Gladiator', is an epic loosely themed around the story of Owein, a Celtic leader, seen in the image above brandishing his sword above two captive Roman soldiers against the apocalyptic background of a dramatic sky and burning fortress. The captives have been forced to surrender their uniforms and Owein seems to be wearing the skirt of one of them as he decides their fate.

The Romans have been left wearing only a form of loincloth with a dangling 'modesty panel' at the front that's probably authentic for the era* but also seems to have an improvised, temporary quality boding ill for the wearers. Their gleaming, sweaty torsos may reflect their fear for the future as much as the exertions of their recent, unsuccessful fighting.

I particularly like the corner detail here, set apart from the more formal ceremonials, it shows a tied captive kneeling, submissive and dismayed, probably contemplating whether death is preferable to enslavement.

*Loose shifts something like this also appear in Quaintance's Roman art and Zagato's slave art.


212 Celtic Warriors Made Captive

As you might imagine, Owein is not fated to enjoy a long, successful career as a rebel against the might of Rome. When he in his turn is captured, he's treated in much the same way, shackled and stripped to reveal what Amalaric calls his 'linen sheath'. It's quite disorienting to see a 1950's posing pouch pop up (as it were) in this Roman scene. The quizzical expression of Owein's comrade seems to show similar confusion (and a witty artist).

Levity aside it's appearance here confers a powerful and unexpected sense of seeing the embarrassing exposure of an intimate garment which makes a stark contrast to the grand attire of Owein's earlier triumph. Of course those pouches were made for gropers and that is exactly what the Roman soldiers do to him, amongst other more painful things.

Owein has not been particularly kind to his hated Roman enemies and the story of his own humiliation and degradation is accompanied by an interesting, ironic counterpoint referencing the brutal treatment suffered by Roman soldiers at the hands of their foes and also by servants and others who offend the Roman elite.

213 The Test of Potency

Owein's spirit is not quenched by soldierly mistreatment. Doomed to be sold into slavery, he is seen here calmly enduring yet another manhandling in a private 'inspection cubicle'. He looks out at us gawpers, defiantly proud, while the mesmerised son of the prospective buyer stares at his magnificent endowment as though willing it to gush forth, much to the amusement of the slave trader just outside who's already verified Owein's non-gay inclinations.

Owein's resistance to the ministrations of massage oil and eager male hands is remedied, not by the whip for once, but by an aromatic paste provided by the local 'apothecary witch' (above left). This potion magically produces a near-instant ejaculation, but not before Owein's tender parts have endured enough unpleasant sensations to wipe that complacent look off his face.

I can offer no artistic excuses for including this picture! 

 

214 Owein is Lashed

Duly purchased, Owein is soon introduced to the severe punishments considered normal for his new status. Being lashed in surroundings as grand and beautiful as the Senator's gardens is probably a privilege but I doubt he would have appreciated the distinction. At this point the punishment is just begun, the artist spares us the worst of the outcome. The off-setting of the whipman, low in the corner works well, seemingly acknowledging Owein's special status.

Most of the captives created by Amalaric's pen can expect to receive repeated treatment like this, but he doesn't often portray it in explicit pictures. He gifts us a sight of Owein's impressive rump which is a worthy complement to his magnificent frontage seen above. As you might imagine, it soon attracts unwelcome attention from other quarters as his story is progresses.

All Amalaric's images contain beautiful men, but Owein is one of those chosen to play a leading role and his beautiful body dominates this epic. Sadly the story is incomplete as yet but, as the title suggests, his anger and thirst for revenge heads him towards the Gladiatorial Arena. Amalaric draws on the imagery of recent Spartacus films for these episodes which I suppose you might regard as ambiguous indicator of the final outcome.

(From 'Gladiator' at Telemachus)


More suffering hunks in The Art of Amalaric Part 3

 Read this series from Part 1

Monday, 24 August 2020

The Art of Amalaric, Part 1 - A Slave to Passion

 

1. Exploring Marrakech (det)

If you're a fan of fetish art you probably know of Amalaric, whose creations graced the old 'Chained Muscle' site for many years and occasionally leaked onto the wider internet. If you were asked to describe a typical Amalaric image, I suspect you might visualise something like the one above.

It seems to show a Westerner who has unwittingly (perhaps irresponsibly) broken a local taboo in the Middle East with disastrous consequences. It's a simple image but marvellously rich and authentic-looking with lots of scope for imagining exactly what's afoot.

Marrakech and Morocco are normally regarded as benign locations for Westerners, but every city on the globe has it's share of traditionalists and xenophobes and recent interventions in the region probably haven't changed their views. Thus we see this man as a captive in a world that is strange and unfamiliar, one in which we perceive that outsiders are not universally liked or welcome. A place where cultural norms seem to be very different from ours and minor transgressions less likely to be glossed over than they usually are in the West. A place where power matters and is wielded harshly.

Amalaric has built this fantasy on such perceptions. Stripped naked, the young captive is no longer protected by the comforting veneer of a Western identity and seems brutally exposed to a frightening unknown. For now, he's spread to toast in the midday sun with a seemingly indifferent, dozing attendant. The X-restraint seen here is a regular feature of Amalaric's work, useful for display and punishment purposes alike, it will crop up again in various guises as we travel through his worlds.


2. Exploring Marrakech (full image)

The previous image is actually a detail (or more precisely, a sub-element) of a much larger work. In the full image we see that the spread-eagled prisoner is on display in a public street and is an object of curiosity for browsing locals (and strays). He is not alone in his predicament and the casual air of his seated 'minders' now seems to have acquired a distinctly proprietorial character. The accompanying narrative (in 'The Souk at Marrakech' at Telemachus) reveals that these captives include a Marine, a back-packer and a business man. They have been snatched from different parts of the Kingdom and brought here to be sold in the illegal, clandestine, slave market, which unknown to the authorities, has survived from ancient times.

The picture tells the story of the market in three sections. On the far right two prisoners are waiting. A young man in shackles (the back-packer?) contemplates his gaping fly which seems to imply that he's about to join the other captives in total nudity. Stripping the captive has a ritualistic character in Amalaric's universe and the peeled back, underwear-revealing fly is one of his favourite 'Stations of Disrobement'. Next to him, stands a more mature man with exquisite musculature and a GI haircut. He looks out at us suspiciously, as though uncertain of what is about to happen and wondering why we are there, watching them.

In the middle two captives are being offered for sale and intimate inspection. The X-restraint creates a make-shift shop window and permits invasive appraisal of more rebellious offerings.

The irregular-looking militiaman on the extreme left introduces a more sinister air, potentially being a follower of an extreme, brutal ideology. He uses a collar restraint to lead one disbelieving prisoner away (the pick of the bunch and I dare say he hasn't even paid for him!) and seems to be sizing up another one to take with him. These unfortunate conscripts may be facing a very unpleasant future as political pawns. It certainly won't be tourist class accommodation that awaits them.

This image is a good example of Amalaric's loose, photo montage style. The composition is conceptually coherent but formed in distinct, interleaved sections which, as we have seen, can be pictures in their own right. They are not necessarily fully integrated in terms of eyelines, perspective etc but together they create an impression of a dynamic, busy street scene. In this case there's almost a sense of the passage of time, as your eye sweeps across the tableau.


3. Warlord

This picture is from a different series but illustrates one possible fate facing these men. This luckless slave is stripped bare in every sense and at the disposal of a wealthy, civilised man. In this day and age, the 'Warlord' might well have been educated in the West and be familiar with Western norms, but has remained steeped in the traditions and attitudes of his own culture. The title suggests he may not be a gentle or kindly man, but this 'family portrait', reminiscent of 18th century livestock pictures (like George Stubb's horse paintings) suggests he's proud of this possession, like a collector showing off his latest find. This may give the captive some hope of good treatment - or maybe not.

This attractive picture is amenable to simple interpretation as an Arab's parlour with a spectacular view. Alternatively it can be seen as a more subtle, impressionistic image showing the social and cultural isolation of the captive. “A Stranger in a Strange Land”. His total nudity jars with the opulent surroundings. It reinforces the sense of his not belonging here and facing a fate which his soft, homely features suggest he could not begin to imagine.

(from 'Warlord' at Aquadude Bunker)

 

4. The MOSLA Slave Emporium

Amalaric often depicts enslavement scenarios and the Middle East (or rather, our perceptions of it) provide a picturesque context for them with the in-built power to disturb and thereby excite us. However, most of his storylines are actually based in modern-day America, a place where the absolute power of wealth, uncaring institutions and random brutality are not entirely unknown either, nor for that matter the notion of enslavement.

The previous picture portrayed a stereotypical, Middle East potentate. This one (taken from the story 'Modern Slavery') shows the modern, Western equivalent - the unimaginably wealthy, ruthless businessman. He's shown exploring a clandestine, US, Slave Warehouse looking for a suitable purchase.

Amalaric's image conjures up (in his own words) an “interior that smelled of the indefinable spice of male bondage; sweaty fear, longing, explosive muscular and emotional energy....”.

We know nothing of this inmate's former life, but in the dilapidated, poorly lit interior we can see his animal attractions - and glimpse his personality. Ordered to lower his jeans, he turns away, unable to look this prospective master in the eye. That reaction that settles the matter. Masculine beauty is not enough, this purchaser wants spirit! So the door closes, returning the captive to darkness to await his next viewing.

Notice how the colour toning of all the pictures we have seen so far is pleasingly uniform and co-ordinated despite the disparate sources from which the elements are drawn. The colouring itself contributes to the atmosphere and setting – a sunny day, a warm luxurious apartment, a cold dark cell.

(From 'Modern Slavery' at Telemachus) 

 

5. Welcome to MOSLA

There are many roads to enslavement in Amalaric's fantasy universe, but the activities of the clandestine organisation called 'MOSLA', described in 'Modern Slavery' are disturbingly sophisticated. They abduct young Americans at will and sell them into slavery after a period of intensive adaptation under firm discipline.

The grim, shabby state of the Warehouse Cell in the previous picture is really an artifice to appeal to a certain kind of buyer. This image shows MOSLA as it wishes to be perceived, a highly professional, slick operation operated to the highest standards out of luxurious premises. The fruits of MOSLA's careful preparations for sale are evident in the quality of the two men here. They confidently present themselves, tempting two prospective buyers. The notion of being able to buy 'off the shelf' a man such as this, beautiful and obedient, is a powerful homoerotic fantasy.

MOSLA clients (we learn) are rich and discerning but they come from all walks of life and don't necessarily flaunt their wealth. Even so the contrast in this picture between the slick, immaculately dressed salesman and the two, rather scruffy, unprepossessing buyers seems to indicate a business that is brutally commercial in essence.

The slaves-to-be don't know what they are being bought for. Some customers may be looking for sheer, decorative handsomeness, but others will require qualities of strength and endurance, a suitability for hard work and strenuous, physical tasks. Labour is the more appealing option for many captive men, but MOSLA places no restrictions on their use after purchase. 

 

6. Ambushed

The sketches in 'Modern Slavery' describe the abductions of numerous men in some detail, culled from quiet lives and all walks of life with a combination of cunning deception and blunt coercion. Even Policemen are not immune. Kidnaps are usually meticulously planned with lengthy observation to ensure prospects are suitable and have 'auction block appeal'. Every care is taken to minimise the risk of abductions being witnessed or triggering serious investigations. But some captures need to be more spontaneous, like Rick the cop who became suspicious of a 'deserted' warehouse and nearly stumbled into a MOSLA Assessment Centre. Fortunately MOSLA's contacts within the higher echelons of the Police allowed his sudden disappearance to go almost unnoticed.


7. First Night At MOSLA

The nosy Cop soon found himself alone in a cell, bereft of uniform and his underwear and (if he did but know it) any reasonable hope of escape. Amalaric usually orchestrates a leisurely strip of new captives. That background makes the fast-tracking of Rick, from his assertive, uniformed self in the previous image to abject, naked incarceration all the more dramatic - and erotic.

Amalaric also contrasts the bleakness of his dark cell and his total nudity with the bizarre normality of a colourful and generous helping of healthy food, provided for him as the start of a deliberate pattern of care. MOSLA acquisitions are always well looked after while in detention in order to attract the highest prices when they are sold.

The apple, artistically posed on the bed, seems to hint at carnal temptations to come for this reborn 'Adam', a plot clue that borrows from the conventions of the golden age of painting. However the broken piece of cheese which he is suspiciously eyeing seems to reference the tradition of lonely prisoners with only hungry mice for company in a location that is far from Paradise.


8 Rogue Traders

One of the most interesting episodes of the 'Modern Slavery' collection concerns a group of independent, 'rogue traders' who abduct the entire Raytown (Missouri) Softball Team whilst they are enjoying a stag trip to New York.

This coup of kidnapping about 10 men in one go would not be risked by MOSLA operatives but is accomplished by these thugs with a disturbingly simple strategy. The boys are spotted at a restaurant and induced into a van on the pretext of getting a free sightseeing trip. US readers might regard the team's rural background as a factor in their agreeing to this, but I couldn't possibly comment. Once in the van they are driven to a warehouse in a derelict area of Brooklyn where more of the gang are waiting. To their horror (and our delight) the Raytown boys are ordered out at gun-point and forced to strip naked, there and then in the street.

In the image above Amalaric shows six of the boys reluctantly complying, but still looking around hoping for a rescuer. The loose composition seems an apt reflection of their confusion and different personalities trying to come to terms with what is happening. They are shown as a varied group, clearly fit, but otherwise relatively ordinary-looking guys thrust into an extraordinarily frightening situation they don't understand. On the left the team captain and one of the gang pause to gaze out at us as though aware of our presence and contemptuous of our inaction (although for completely different reasons). 

 

9 Rogue Traders Punishment

In this central element extracted from the abduction scene above, an escape attempt has just been thwarted and the would-be escaper is forced to lick the balls of a fellow team member as his punishment and a warning to the others. In the background a half-dressed team member displays a tantalising backside that his partner will never see again, but someone else will willingly pay for. 

(It's a rare outing for shorts in Amalaric's imagery that I couldn't pass up!)

I included a similar 'deconstruction' in the discussion of 'Marrakesh' above. This practice gives a clue to how Amalaric builds his more complex images by interleaving self-contained, individual elements. The refocussing here produces a picture in which the two figure groups and the two tantalising backsides make a connection and suggest a storyline we hadn't noticed before.

The bewildered men of Raytown are never told of the reason for their abduction. Once naked, they are marched inside the warehouse and locked in separate cells. The last sight they have of each other is through cell windows as they are taken away one-by-one to be passed on to MOSLA.

This episode of 'Modern Slavery' is a nice, compact example of Amalaric's storytelling. The inexorable and pitiless detachment of these friends, first from their small-town domesticity and then from each other makes a darkly fascinating tale, lightly spiced with coercion, humiliations and punishments for the involuntary cast along the way.

 

10. Loading and Shipping

This image shows at the impressive scale of enslavement carried out by MOSLA with dozens of separately kidnapped men being channelled to assembly points for bulk onward shipment to the organisation's Assessment Centres. A diverse mix of complete strangers, they have to be properly restrained and herded together into trucks to be sent on their way, discreetly hidden in secret compartments.

This slightly jumbled composition conjures the chaotic atmosphere, lorded over by the impressive-looking gangmaster in the foreground. He seems to have been superimposed on a patchwork of images of the men passing through his charge as though this story is about him, not them. It might be the centre-spread of the MOSLA house magazine - “Joe Bloggs processes a record number of transits in our Mid-West Assembly Centre

Joe's weary assistant resting on the right shows it's hard work dealing with all these bewildered, angry and resentful men. Some captives retain vestiges of their identity but are treated casually, dumped into the truck, more like routine meat shipments than prized acquisitions. In the background a Policeman (corrupt or fake) helps to keep order, but turns a blind eye to some dubious handling of the goods. His presence bestows an illusion of legality on the process which may offer hope to the unfortunates, only to be dashed when they realise he must be on the payroll.

11. Initial Examination

A busy examination room at the Assessment Centre as multiple arrivals are stripped of their last vestiges of clothing to be checked for medical and physical condition. Their sexual orientation, fertility and other interesting characteristics will also be ascertained for the sales details. Sadly, failing MOSLA's strict quality tests at this stage is not likely to result in the granting of freedom......

Amalaric shows the men loosely restrained in shackles, bewildered still, but generally complying reluctantly with their instructions. For those unwilling to do so there are tools of coercion at hand but the thugs know that herd obedience is usually infectious and persuasive for those with qualms. Thus some men are willing remove their briefs voluntarily, registering their first steps along the road to subjugation.

In the right foreground a less cooperative man who nevertheless allows an assessor to undress him, while affecting to display proud indifference. This little drama appears to be a separate image, superimposed on the scene and not quite aligned with the other activity. This arrangement resembles the patchwork technique commonly used in fan magazines, where separate but related images are cut and pasted together to create a visually interesting, multi-faceted 'spread' highlighting the contents of the article. In this slave-processing image it gives a sense of multiple submissions, occurring separately but part of the same story under the direction of the Clinician in the centre.

This same technique is used more subtly in the preceding 'Shipping' image


12. Obtaining a Sperm Sample

The MOSLA story describes the abductions of a number of different men, but (in the Telemachus edition) it falls to straight, former cop, Rick Travis to provide the erotic climax. Having refused to provide a sample in the usual manner, he is secured and subjected to a series of unpleasant but variously effective stimulation techniques until at last he is obliged to deliver. This image of that moment is a rare, overt expression of intimacy and sexual drama in Amalaric's oeuvre.

In a world full of S&M porn this image may seem unremarkable, but it's focus and simplicity is unusual. This is Rick the Cop, emphatically bound and forcibly milked without any distracting, ritualistic clutter. The upward view shows his glorious body and sexuality standing open and unprotected in the act of abject surrender.

The disembodied, almost touching hand was a device often used in 1950's beefcake art to suggest a connection to the lusting viewer, but here it represents the exact opposite, an anonymous milker performing his job of extraction and completely uninterested in the donor, let alone gratification. In the story this is the moment that Rick is taught that his body is no longer his to control. It belongs to someone else and there is nothing of it which can be withheld. This 'simple' image is a powerful expression of a strong man's involuntary capitulation.

~

More in The Art of Amalaric - Part 2

 

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