Ever Noticed Small Penises In Old Paintings? There's A Reason For Them

Ahem. Have you ever wandered around an art gallery and noticed that certain paintings of naked men are far from... generous when it comes to the depictions of the subjects’ appendages?

Well, it turns out there is in fact a reason why penises in paintings pre-19th century are so small.

A study into the size of human penis size in paintings (yes, we’re seriously curious about how one comes up with this as a research idea, too) looked at paintings which depict naked men from the past seven centuries.

Using paintings of nude men found on art websites, the research team organised them chronologically to see when things started getting bigger.

Paintings with erect penises were scrapped from the research pool – no one likes a show off after all.

The team found that “during the 15th and 16th centuries, although the number of naked human paintings increased considerably, the penis continued to be depicted as rather small.”

It wasn’t much better news for anyone posing for a painting in the 17th or 18th century either.

However, they added, “from the 19th century onwards, images of the penis began to become proportionally larger.”

Why? Well you can thank/blame the internet and porn for that.

The research team wrote: “One explanation behind the exaggerated perceived penis size in paintings produced in this century could be the widespread use of the internet and exposure to other media, which perpetuate the association between penis size and masculinity, strength, and partner satisfaction.

“With the ubiquity of porn, supersized penises and exaggerated female reactions towards them could make men compare their own penis size to that of others, including those men who are featured in pornographic content.”

So back in the day, penises in paintings were smaller because we just weren’t really that fussed about penis size – and penis size didn’t come with the connotations and stigma that it does now. Simpler times eh?