Pin-up model  

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"FIRST, LET us not confuse the pin-up girl with the pornographic or erotic imagery that dates from the dark backward and abysm of time. The pinup girl is a specific erotic phenomenon, both as to form and function." --"Entomology of the Pin-Up Girl" (1946) by André Bazin

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

A pin-up girl or pin-up model is a model whose mass-produced pictures see wide appeal as pop culture. Pin-ups are intended for informal display. Pin-up girls are often glamour models, fashion models, and actresses.

Many “pin ups” were photographs of celebrities who were considered sex symbols. One of the most popular early pin-up girls was Betty Grable. Her poster was ubiquitous in the lockers of G.I.s during World War II. Others pin-ups were artwork, often depicting idealized versions of what some thought a particularly beautiful or attractive woman should look like. The genre also gave rise to several well-known artists specializing in the field, including Alberto Vargas and George Petty, and numerous lesser artists such as Art Frahm.

The term “cheesecake” is synonymous with “pin-up photo”. These days men can be considered “pin ups” as well and there are male equivalents of attractive and sexy actors such as Brad Pitt or numerous male models. The counterpart term to “cheesecake” is “beefcake”.



The term "pin-up girl" was first attested to in English in 1941; however the practice is documented back at least to the 1890s. The “pin up” images could be cut out of magazines or newspapers, or be from postcard or chromo-lithographs, and so on. Such photos often appear on calendars, which are meant to be pinned up anyway. Later, posters of “pin-up girls” were mass-produced. An early example was the Gibson girl, drawn by Charles Dana Gibson, but tracing its antecedents to Europe, one finds the work of Alphonse Mucha, Jules Chéret and Raphael Kirchner in the 19th century.

Kitschy incarnations of academic art such as Psyche at Nature's Mirror by Paul Thumann, the work of Howard Chandler Christy, Harrison Fisher, Angelo Asti ("Colette" (1903), by Brown & Bigelow) and the controversial September Morn by Paul Chabas (censored by the New York Society for the Supression of Vice) are good fin de siecle examples of pin-ups. Further American developments saw the work of Mabel Rollins Harris, Maxfield Parrish and Hy Hintermeister.

Notable pin-up girls

1910s and 1920s









Other kinds of pin-ups

In comic books, a pin-up is simply a full-page piece of artwork, most often without dialogue, that showcases a character, group of characters, or significant event, published within an issue, rather than made available by itself as a poster.

In professionally published fan magazines for films and television series, a posed photograph of actors or actresses from the subject matter, but might also showcase specific scenes from the subject matter in photograph form (called stills) are occasionally called pin-ups. The label is very casual, though, as these types of fan media are more accurately described as posters.

Pin-ups are also referred to as cheesecake, the male counterpart being beefcake.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Pin-up model" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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