During the Victorian era, it was almost impossible to see a beard-free male face. This uniquely Victorian trend has been a thing of fascination for Los Angeles based artist Aaron Smith, who makes these dapper bearded men the primary subjects of his oil paintings. Previously featured on our blog, Smith, who sports an impressive beard himself, borrows his subjects from vintage photographs which he invigorates with a trippy palette and impressionistic strokes. He relates them to “dandies”- men of the 18th and 19th centuries that paid particular attention to their appearance and manor. They were the hipsters of their time who tested modern masculine stereotypes. For his most recent exhibition at the Gregorio Escalante Gallery in Los Angeles, curated by Sloan Fine Art, Smith presents these men as an ideal of masculinity. Titled “In the Snuggery of Airs and Graces”, his series transforms their otherwise serious and firm demeanor into something exciting and beautiful. Take a look at more images in the series below, courtesy of Sloan Fine Art.
Aaron Smith’s “In the Snuggery of Airs and Graces” is now on view through January 3rd, 2016.