ὅ παῖς καλός: Richard Armitage and the Quintessence of Quadriceps

While Armitageworld has been buzzing with rumors of new projects (I have to force myself to let the rumors lie and wait for confirmed facts..the speculation kills me.) I’ve been pondering something else entirely.  Legs.  Men’s legs.  Yeah, they don’t usually make a big impression on me.  In fact, I was thinking about the subject this weekend, and it seems that I classify male legs much the same as I do wedding cakes.  For me, the majority are unremarkable, passably attractive, but mostly “meh.”  Occasionally though, I encounter one that makes me sit up and say, “Holy S%*t that is amazing cake!”

The Greeks were big fans of the “Holy S%*t” variety of legs as well, especially during the Archaic Period (~650-490 BC).  A popular sculptural form of this period is known as the KOUROSThe kouros is a free standing nude male sculpture in the round…most commonly made of marble.  They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and evolve from fairly stylized beginnings that strongly suggest Egyptian inspiration, to a much more naturalistic approach that hints at coming attractions in the Classical period.  Hundreds of them survive, many coming from sanctuaries of Apollo where they perhaps served as stand ins for the god.  My favorite example had a different function.

His inscription reads, ""Stand and mourn for Kroisos, first in line of battle and whom Ares killed." Source

His inscription reads, “”Stand and mourn for Kroisos, first in line of battle and whom Ares killed.”

From the inscription, most scholars believe that this particular kouros stood as a monument marking the grave of a youth named Kroisos who had been killed in battle.  Sculpted around 525 BC, in marble, he stands 6’4″…probably somewhat above life size for ancient Greece, but a very good example of life size for a certain someone.   He is an iconic example of a particular phase of the kouros typology, with all the component features, but what has always especially stood out to my eye is the powerful legs, especially the thighs.  He is very lean through the waist, but then broadens out, not in a hipp-y feminine  way, but through those massive quadriceps.

Profile view...

Profile view…

A view from the side show us that this is indeed sculpture in the round, and illustrates that the muscles of the back of the thigh, including the gluteals, are also well developed.  Hence the “Holy S%*t” ranking.

I was reminded of the Anavysos Kouros when a certain set of fabulous flanks recently made an appearance at Cinema Con in Las Vegas.

Oh hello there... (Sorry...I cut everyone else out of the frame - to give the thigh is due!) Source

Oh hello there…
(Sorry…I cut everyone else out of the frame – to give the thigh it’s due!)

Like the Anavysos Kouros, on the “wedding cake” scale, Richard Armitage definitely has “Holy S%*t” class legs…long and lean, but with exceptionally muscular thighs.  Yum…that is some tasty cake!   Not convinced?  Allow me to provide further evidence:

A vintage shot...eyes on the thighs please! Source

A vintage shot…eyes on the thighs please!
Source:  http://www.richardarmitagenet.com

Oh, there’s more…

Spooks S8...I love how the light traces the curve of the quad... www.richardarmitagenet.com

Spooks S8…I love how the light traces the curve of the quad…

Lingering doubts?  Have no fear John Porter’s here…

So they're disguised in Lucas North's painted on jeans...you can plainly see the point :) www.richardarmitagenet.com

OK, I’ll admit, Porter’s gams are disguised in Lucas North’s painted on jeans…but you can plainly see the thighs have it!  (I am almost sorry for the puns…almost.)

Still not convinced?  You are a tough crowd!  Or,

You're holding out for the comparative rear view!

You’re holding out for the comparative rear view!

 ὅ παῖς καλός

65 comments on “ὅ παῖς καλός: Richard Armitage and the Quintessence of Quadriceps

  1. jazzbaby1 says:

    Pervy art history with Obscura. 😉

  2. VERY entertaining and I agree they are the “Holy S%*t” variety of leg! Thank you for brightening my afternoon 🙂

  3. Reblogged this on richardtreehouse and commented:
    Awesome legs 🙂

  4. Teuchter says:

    Those thighs of sighs are perfect from *any* angle! 😉 I LOVE your kind of history lessons! 🙂 Don’t hesitate to share any more that you might run into! “Run into”? Now there’s a thought! That *would* be quite the experience if it actually happened.! Oh my! *fans self*

  5. Servetus says:

    Reblogged this on Me + Richard Armitage and commented:
    On what’s firm in Armitageworld.

  6. Servetus says:

    I see you saw that thigh at ComicCon, too. Man.

  7. rashisama says:

    When I saw him onstage I was staring at his legs. He has this amazing ability to stand completely still for a long period of time

  8. linda60 says:

    Convinced, absolutely!! I adore them!

  9. lamaruca says:

    absolutely NEEDED to see proof that Armitage’s legs exemplified the “Holy S%*t” variety… (lecherously scrutinizing said proof)

  10. guylty says:

    “fabulous flanks” LOL – great stuff. Really interesting journey into classic art here. I love learning all these things. And that Kroisos really has RA’s figure – down to the roundy thighs. Thanks for that! I think I know what I’ll be dreaming of tonight.

  11. You have me literally laughing out loud! Thanks for a delightful afternoon.

  12. Dear Obscura,
    I’m “thighhhhhing” over this essay and these images! Such a treat! You have chased the snowy Monday (not kidding, but light) doldrums away! And I always say, RA’s beauty should be sculpted. Michelangelo’s David has nothing on Richard Armitage.
    Cheers! Grati ;->

  13. Heather says:

    OMG, that was for sure LOL worthy….I really got a good chuckle…and yet so deliciously true! Love it!\

  14. linnetmoss says:

    Beautiful Boy indeed! Kallistos… I do love me some kouros, ancient or modern.

  15. Marie Astra says:

    Wow. Just…wow. Great comparison! Here’s the thing, though, RA is very slender when you see him in person, yet look at that CinemaCon picture. He looks kinda bulky! In a good way. How does he do it? He is a master of disguise!

    • obscura says:

      IDK…they always say the camera adds 10 pounds, but even so, he did look exceptionally slim in December at the premieres for TDOS. I’d wondered lately if he hadn’t gained back some weight for the Chop role? The demand to fit a body to a role is an aspect of the actors trade that must be a huge challenge from day to day. Maybe he’s one of those people for whom weight just falls off.

      I do think that we’d gotten used to seeing him “bulked up” for Thorin, so he looks much slimmer by comparison. Never know which version will show up…keeps things exciting 🙂

      • Marie Astra says:

        Every version of RA is droolworthy. Lucky man! 😀 I was wondering if he’d wear some padding for Chop, who’s supposed to be bulky. Not in a good way. 😀

        • obscura says:

          Yeah, I wondered to…although, in that one picture, the coat looks really bulky, but what you can see of the midriff doesn’t seem to have much extra padding. Time will tell I guess 🙂

          • Mezz says:

            I’ve read the book but I can’t remember if Chop described himself as overweight. It was set about twenty years ago so maybe he wasn’t then. Anyway, it doesn’t appear as though the producers were too concerned about physical likeness when they cast Richard, so padding or no may not be an issue. 🙂

          • Teuchter says:

            I agree! I think Richard would have been chosen more his incredible acting abilities than his physical appearance – no matter how amazing that is! Oh, and BTW, I’m in total agreement with your assessment of the statue and all the accompanying examples of our modern day Kouros!! 😉 The back and side views are also worth studying! 🙂

          • obscura says:

            How fitting that The Crucible is being performed “in the round” 🙂

          • Teuchter says:

            🙂 “In the round.” Now those words conjure up all *kinds* of images!! 😉 Will people find it hard to remain in their seats when he is on the stage I wonder? I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that I will actually be in the UK for three weeks in September, (for the first time in 18 years) but only in London to change flights! 😦 So near and yet so far, as the saying goes. Breaks my heart to think about it. *wells up*

          • obscura says:

            I think the kids refer to him as fat a few times, but anyone who ate regularly probably looked “fat” to those kids. I agree, I think that they are going for an over all East Leeds “look” rather than a literal physical resemblance.

  16. Mezz says:

    Oh my……the similarity is amazing. 1649587325487596% on the Holy S%*t scale!

  17. Joanna says:

    Thank you for the lecture, prof Obscura (she said wiping caffeine drips from the computer screen)
    I’m not a big fan of men’s legs too…but Richard’s are hard to ignore 😉

    • obscura says:

      Definitely enough to make even the toughest leg cynic sit up and take notice 🙂

      I have to admit, when I first met my husband, the most remarkable thing about his legs was a tattoo 🙂

  18. PreferNot2 says:

    one of my first posts in wordpress was a monologue (Ulysses) that I wrote just thinking in RA (voice, body, and so on…) Therefore when I’ve seen the title of this blog I just couldn’t help following it
    Great post!

  19. […] though the Anavysos Kouros on the left is to be understood as stepping forward, he appears stiff and static when compared to […]

  20. […] a grave marker, I have to admit that Kroisos is much more renowned for his thunderous thighs than his rather petite […]

  21. […] a little different process for each of the different post variation.  ὅ παῖς καλός posts are celebrations of the physical beauty of the man and his component parts, while the Roman […]

  22. […] doesn’t have an Ἄϊδος κυνέην – then we couldn’t get a glimpse of the quintessence of quadriceps that simply can’t be hidden regardless of the […]

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