Michelangelo’s David is well known for his small manhood.
But if a renaissance artist were to create his sculpture today, he probably would have used a little more marble for David’s chassis.
Scientists who have analyzed the size of penises in works of art from the Renaissance to the present day have found that they have gotten larger over time.
“In paintings of male nudes, the size of the penis has gradually increased over the past seven centuries, especially after the 20th century,” say researchers from Selçuk University and Biruni University in Turkey.
And contemporary depictions of large dicks may contribute to “a sense of inadequacy and dissatisfaction in modern men,” said the team, which analyzed 160 works of male nudes created by 99 artists from 21 countries.
Michelangelo’s David is well known for his small manhood. But if a renaissance artist were to create his sculpture in modern times, it is likely that he would have used a little more marble for David’s chassis.
Contemporary depictions of large dicks may contribute to “feelings of inadequacy and dissatisfaction in modern men,” the team said (archived image).
They chose to study paintings from the Renaissance period (1400-1599) onwards because that was when “people became the center of attention in painting, and the images created attempted to reflect the ideal beauty of the human form.”
“As a result of the declining influence of the church on art, images of the nude were often depicted during this period,” they said.
The first known examples of phallic images in art date back to the Stone Age, approximately 30,000 years ago.
Primitive human figures with a head, torso, limbs and a penis were found on the walls of caves in Ancient Asia Minor, near the city of Mersin in modern Turkey.
“Throughout history, images of the penis have had different meanings,” the Turkish team wrote in their research paper published in the urological journal BJUI.
“However, the size of the ideal penis seems to have increased in size throughout recent history, especially in the 20th and 21st centuries; This change is clearly seen in nude male paintings of the time.
“The evolution of penis art towards a larger, perhaps unrealistic ideal in today’s media may contribute to a sense of inadequacy and dissatisfaction with penis size in today’s men.
“Further research is needed to determine the motivations for and implications of this perception of the penis today.”
A 2006 study of over 50,000 men and published in the journal Psychology of Men & Masculinity found that only 55 percent of men were satisfied with their penis size.
And a 2018 study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research found that a small penis that feels small to itself is a risk factor for erectile dysfunction.
Phallus: the image of strength and masculinity
Phallic emblems are found on a wide variety of Roman objects, from amulets and frescoes to mosaics and lamps.
These were symbols meant to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits.
As the ancient writer Pliny testifies, even infants and soldiers wore such amulets to evoke divine protection.