I found this research quite difficult, is not all figurative art somehow based on the underlying structures of the body?
Especially in the Renaissance the human body and anatomy was widely in the focus of research and art. 1543 the first comprehensively illustrated Renaissance treatise from Andreas Vesalius’ De humani corporis fabrica was published in Basel. The great italian artists incorporated the findings in their own works as Michelangelo Buonarotti (1475–1564) or even did further scientific studies as Leanardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519).
- Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475 – 1564)
‘Studies for the Libyan Sibyl (recto)‘, 1508–12
Red chalk (recto) (28.9 x 21.4 cm)
[Online image] New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1924. Available from: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/24.197.2 [accessed 07 Sep 2015]
=> A study typical for Michelangelo depicting especially the muscle masses visible on the body’s surface.
- Domenico del Barbiere (ca. 1506–ca. 1570)
‘ Two Flayed Men and Skeletons‘ , ca. 1540–1545
after Rosso Fiorentino (Italian, Florentine, 1494–1540)
Engraving (24.1 x 33.3 cm)
[Online image] New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1949 Available from: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/49.95.181 [accessed 07 Sep 2015]
=> A comparision, rather a study of the skeleton and muscle masses of the human body in front and back view with some props in the background. Interesting how the artist adds to a rather scientific work gesture and stance to the figures.
- Egon Schiele (1890 – 1918):
(see my previous research on him – alongside Jenny Saville)
‘Standing Nude with Orange Stockings‘, 1914
Gouache and pencil on paper
[Online image] London: Richard Nagy Ltd. Available from: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2011/may/16/egon-schiele-women-in-pictures [accessed 07 Sep 2015]
=> In contrast to Michelangelo’s strong focus on muscle masses of seemingly well build models, Schiele’s models are rather lean (starving?). The landmarks of the skeleton are visible with a fee indication of the skin and muscles.
- Lucian Freud (1922 – 2011)
‘Man posing‘, 1985
Etching on paper (69.5 x 54.3 cm)
[Online image] Tate Modern London. Available from: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/freud-man-posing-p77182 [accessed 25 July 2015]
=> In this work from Freud the skeleton landmarks are nicely showing through. He is using basic shapes to depict the human body in bold light markings. He is applying a more controlled approach for the shadows and the surrounding space.