Project 4 – Research point: Underlying structure

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: [accessed 07 Sep 2015]

    Michelangelo Buonarroti - 'Studies for the Libyan Sibyl (recto) ', 1508–12

    Michelangelo Buonarroti – ‘Studies for the Libyan Sibyl (recto) ‘, 1508–12

=> 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: [accessed 07 Sep 2015]
Domenico del Barbiere - Two Flayed Men and Skeletons, ca. 1540–1545

Domenico del Barbiere ‘ Two Flayed Men and Skeletons’ , ca. 1540–1545 after Rosso Fiorentino

=> 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 – ‘Standing Nude with Orange Stockings’, 1914

=> 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.

=> 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.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: