Robert Mapplethorpe, ‘Lindsay Key’ 1985
Robert Mapplethorpe
Lindsay Key 1985
ARTIST ROOMS Tate and National Galleries of Scotland
© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

A handsome youth in Greek mythology loved by Aphrodite. He was killed by a wild boar and restored to Aphrodite from Hades.

A disease of the immune system, caused by the virus HIV, leading to death from infections that the body is no longer able to resist. The disease had a devastating effect on the gay community in the 1980’s and many of Mapplethorpe’s friends and acquaintances were victims of the disease. Mapplethorpe died from an AIDS-related illness in 1989.

Combining features that are typically male with features that typically female and therefore of uncertain sex. Mapplethorpe’s female models such as Lisa Lyon, Patti Smith and Grace Jones are often described as having androgynous looks.

Refers to a vision of pastoral bliss and harmony of nature and derives from a Greek region of the same name known for its wilderness and unspoilt beauty. The work Patti Smith (1979) is described as having an arcadian feel.

Art made by assembling disparate elements often scavenged by the artist, sometimes bought specially. One Mapplethorpe’s early influences, Joseph Cornell, is associated with assemblage art, as are his sitters Robert Rauschenberg and Louise Nevelson.

New and experimental ideas and methods in art, music and literature.

Giovanni Bellini
An Italian Renaissance painter (c.1430-1516), probably the best known of the Bellini family of Venetian painters.

Louise Bourgeois
French-American artist and sculptor (1911-2010), best known for her contributions to both modern and contemporary art, and for her spider structures, titled Maman, which resulted in her being nicknamed the Spiderwoman. Bourgeois was photographed by Mapplethorpe in 1982.

Marlon Brando
American film star (1924-2004) who came to prominence in the 1950s with performances in films such as A Street Car Named Desire (1951), On the Waterfront (1954) and The Wild Ones (1953). In the latter he played Johnny Strabler, a rebel gang leader. Imagery associated with the character had a significant impact on popular and youth culture.

Julia Margaret Cameron
A British photographer (1815-79) known for her portraits of prominent society figures of the time.

Truman Capote
American author and society figure (1924-84) who was a subject of Mapplethorpe’s.

Bruce Chatwin
A British writer (1940-89) who was a subject and friend of Mapplethorpe.

Chelsea Hotel
A Manhattan hotel renowned as the home for many artists, writers and musicians in 1970s and 1980s New York. Mapplethorpe lived at the Chelsea Hotel in the early 1970’s with Patti Smith.

An asymmetrical arrangement of the human figure in which the lines of the arms and shoulders contrast with, while balancing, those of the hips and legs. The most famous example of contrapposto is Michelangelo’s David (1504). A number of Mapplethorpe’s sitters pose in a contrapposto, including Lindsay Key (1985).

Joseph Cornell
An American artist (1903-72), associated with assemblage, and a major influence on Mapplethorpe.

Early twentieth-century movement in art and literature based on deliberate irrationality and negation of traditional artistic values. Mapplethorpe’s early influences such as Marcel Duchamp are associated with the dada movement.

James Dean
Cultural icon and American film star (1931-55) best known for playing the troubled teenager Jim Stark in A Rebel Without A Cause (1955).

Derrick Cross
A New York based modern dancer who posed for Mapplethorpe on numerous occasions. Mapplethorpe’s photographs of Cross often focus on body sections such as his torso, arm or buttocks.

An exhibition of modern and contemporary art taking place every five years in Kassel, Germany. Mapplethorpe participated in Documenta 6, 1977.

Marcel Duchamp
French artist (1887-1968), associated with dada, who was a major influence on Mapplethorpe.

Greek god of love, counterpart of Roman cupid.

John Everett Millais
A British painter (1829-96) and one of the founding fathers of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

Marianne Faithfull
A British singer-songwriter (b. 1946) who Mapplethorpe photographed on more than one occasion.

Saint Francis of Assisi
A much revered Italian Catholic preacher (1181-1225c).

Keith Haring
American artist (1958-90) whose work is often associated with New York street culture. Haring was a subject and contemporary of Mapplethorpe.

A brand of medium format camera. Mapplethorpe first began using a Hasselblad camera in 1975.

Grace Jones
American-Jamaican singer, actress and model (b. 1948). Mapplethorpe photograhed Jones in 1984 and 1988.

Lisa Lyon
Professional bodybuilder, winner of the first World Women’s Body Championship in 1979. Mapplethorpe produced a book of his photographs with Lady: Lisa Lyon (1983).

American singer-songwriter (b.1958) know for her sexually provocative music videos and song lyrics.

Ken Moody
A model, athlete and fitness instructor. Mapplethorpe photographed Moody numerous times, some of which were featured in his publication Black Book (1986).

The word ‘muse’ comes from the Greek mousa originating from Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory and mother of the Muses. In Greek mythology Zeus and Mnemosyne were the parents of nine goddesses each of whom was regarded as the protectress of a different art or science. The word muse is now used to refer to a woman who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist. Throughout history artists have been inspired by the minds and bodies of women; Victorine Meuren inspired Édouard Manet’s The Luncheon on the Grass (1863) and Olympia (1863) and Edie Sedgwick was Andy Warhol’s most famous muse, starring in a number of his films.

The revival of a classical style or treatment in art, literature, architecture, or music dominant in Europe in the mid-seventeenth and eighteenth century. Mapplethorpe acknowledged the influence of the neo-classical in his work. References to French painter Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825) are particularly evident in Mapplethorpe’s work.

Saint Peter
An early Christian leader who was one of Jesus’s twelve apostles.

A movement among young people in the mid to late 1970s, characterised by a violent rejection of established society and expressed through punk rock and wearing of aggressively outlandish clothes and hairstyles.

Italian painter (1483-1520) associated with the Renaissance.

The revival of European art and literature under the influence of classical models in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

Sadomasochism is broadly a form of physical role play – those involved get pleasure from receiving or inflicting pain and/or humiliation.

In classical mythology, a woodland god associated with drunken revelry and lustfulness. In Greek representations, the satyr was a man with certain attributes of a horse, such as a horse’s ears and tail, and in Roman representations he was a man with the tail, legs and horns of a goat. Mapplethorpe gives his sitters the appearance of a satyr in works such as Alan Lynes (1979) and Snakeman (1981).

Martin Scorsese
American film director (b. 1942) known for works such as Taxi Driver (1976) and Goodfellas (1990). His film The Last Temptation of Christ was embroiled in the culture wars of the early 1990s.

Andres Serrano
American artist (b.1950) whose controversial work Piss Christ (1987) was involved in the culture wars of the early 1990s.

Patti Smith
American singer-songwriter, poet and performance artist, a close friend and confidante of Mapplethorpe. Smith was sometimes referred to as the poetess of punk.

American rock band who were photographed by Mapplethorpe in 1977 for their Marquee Moon album cover.

Andy Warhol
American pop artist (1928-87) who had a major influence on and who was a subject for Mapplethorpe.