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Classic Style Bradshaw figures. Can we tell gender differences?

The painters of the Classic Style Bradshaw figures show an exceptional ability to paint figures in either a ‘posterior’ or ‘anterior’ position. They were also able to define muscle outline as well as show a number of other distinctive anatomical features in their painting. The artist’s also show an ability to grasp the idea of painted perspective. This is demonstrated by their ability to differentiate ‘gender’ through imagery and posture. No evidence of the female breast or the male penis was identified any of the Classic Style figures analysed. Characteristic’s identified as defining gender are the common depiction in size and height difference, the male figure showing a longer torso and leg length, differing body shape, stronger calf muscle definition, with the male stance predominantly shown with legs apart and uniform. The female legs are often ‘splayed’ from the knees in a ‘knock-kneed’ style. This gender differentiation is also shown in figures painted in both the ‘anterior’ and ‘posterior’ positions.

Evidence of the use of imagery and posture by the artist may be supported by the hypothesis that the painted body shape of the female might indicate steatopygia, rather than a side view of a paunch often attributed to below-waist bulge.

Painted ‘pairs’ generally facing each other and away from artist. Sometimes facing fully into the canvas.
Holding ‘hands’. Hands of male reach out to hands of female.
Male stance predominantly with legs apart and uniform with female legs often splayed from knee’s in ‘knock-knee’ style.
Feet of male often ‘splayed’ outward with female ‘toes’ in position.
Hair/headdress on female ‘flows’ along the body line, often showing hair combs or other decoration missing from male.
Size difference-male predominately taller.
Male torso and leg length longer. Body shapes different particularly around the waist and lower body, possibly indicating steatopygia..
Calf muscle outline dominant on male.

Table showing gender characteristic of Classic stylistic variation of the Bradshaw/Gwion period