When I first read the text for this research point I immediately thought Leonardo DaVinci, I’ve seen incredibly detailed exploratory sketches involving the human body and he certainly is the most well known, but thats not what research is about, I want to discover some new artists who study the body. I decided I would do some investigation and look into several historic and contemporary artists who’s style resonated with me.
Leonardo DaVinci 1452 – 1519
As I mentioned above the first artist who sprung to mind was Leonardo. He was not only an artist but also a student of anatomy, astronomy, botany, cartography, and palaeontology. As you can imagine he was a naturally curious person, and longed for understanding of the curiosities of the world.
Andreas Vesalius & Jan van Calcar
I have had to put two names down for this entry, as the author seems to have left the artists name uncredited. Andreas Vesalius was a anatomist and physician, he was alive between 1514 – 1564 he will often come up when you search for anatomical drawings, he was the author of the “De humani corporis fabrica libri septem” a series of illustrated books comprised of in depth anatomical drawings. The Illustrations are believed to be the work of German born, Jan van Calcar, they are actually very detailed woodcuts. The work while being intended as descriptive really is quite delicate and beautiful, offering a strong style, the work posing the skeletal subjects in day to day ordinary poses.
I was really quite taken by the works of Egon Schiele when I researched the changing nude, you only have to look at his work to see that beneath the exaggerated and distorted figures in Schiele’s work is a thorough understanding of anatomy, particularly in terms of bone structure.
Any fans of the Manic Street Preachers, will already be familiar of Jenny Savilles work. She works at a very large scale with broad strokes of colour. The overweight figures she paints cited to have been the result of watching a surgeon perform liposuction procedures gave her a greater understanding and influenced the way she approached the human body. The hard structures of the body draped in the softer jelly like fat layers meticulously described in her images.
I stumbled upon Nunzio Paci while searching for Jenny Saville, and I’m very pleased I did. His images feel like they are almost vandalised anatomy books. The detailed anatomical drawings are embellished with a secondary drawing, normally botanical in nature.