Wilhelm von Gloeden began photographing the male nude in the early 1890s in Taormina, a hillside town on the northeast coast of Sicily. Following his death in 1931, von Gloeden's collection of over three thousand glass plate negatives was left to his longtime friend and model, Pancrazio Bucini. When Mussolini's fascists entered Taormina in 1936, the negatives were seized and Bucini was accused of "keeping pornography." Though Bucini was acquitted, the negatives were not returned until after World War II.
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