Mapplethorpe is one of the greatest masters of art photography. He uses highly stylised black and white for portraits, nudes and still lifes.
After his beginnings in drawing and collage, Mapplethorpe discovered photography in 1970. The artist then focused on male nudes, his art at the limits of pornography made sandal in the United States and fuelled a polemic on the public funding of art.
Fascinated by the antique model, Mapplethrope puts muscularity and aesthetic perfection at the centre of his work.
The artist died in 1989 at the age of 42 from AIDS. After his death, a culture war broke out in the United States, as an exhibition on Mapplethrope was to be held at the Corcoran Gallery od Art in Washington, D.C. However, Senator Helms closed the exhibition as obscene. A schism was then created between those who defended artistic freedom and those who fought against the attack on public morality.
The value of Mappelthrope's work will be rehabilitated and recognised a posteriori.