31 Volume of Anatomical Drawings

Title: Volume of Anatomical Drawings

Artist/Source: Kathleen Hodgson

Date: circa 1915

Medium/Technique: pen and ink, pencil, watercolour and coloured pencil on paper

UCL Art Museum SDC 8065

The teaching of drawing at the Slade long reflected the importance placed on art and anatomy, expression and observation. In addition to drawing from the model in the life room, students drew from classical casts. They also attended lectures in anatomy to learn about the structure of the body and how this determined its surface appearance.

Kathleen Hodgson’s diligent note taking provides an excellent record of a student’s progress through the study of artistic anatomy. Surprisingly, the approach to the figure relates very closely to that taught in medical anatomy, except Hodgson’s notes steer clear of the body systems unrelated to skeletal support and movement. Sagittal and coronal sections dominate, while transverse sections are of little use to the budding artist. Hodgson has also carefully colour coded the anatomy. Not surprisingly, this artistic approach to anatomy also figures largely in anatomical training in the health sciences. The currently bestselling colouring workbook The Anatomy Colouring Book (by Wynn Kapit, Lawrence M Elson) draws on the same vision of the body as one of structures with sharply demarcated boundaries, imagined through colour coding. Its ongoing popularity attests to the effectiveness of Hodgson’s approach to the body even today.

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