33 Ecorché

Title: Ecorché

Artist/Source: Mandy Havers (born 1950)

Date: 1978

Medium: coloured pencil on paper

UCL Art Museum #6936

Mandy Havers received the Henriques Scholarship Prize in 1978 from the Slade for this drawing of an Écorché Figure, an anatomical figure depicting an animal or human with the skin removed to show the location and interplay of the muscles.

From the fifteenth century, Western artists began to concern themselves with accurate representation of the body. Artists often witnessed and sometimes performed dissections on cadavers to determine the position and function of anatomical structures. Three-dimensional écorché models were made to further assist in this training, and would become an essential part of most artists’ studio equipment. Many drawings were made of such modelst – those of Leonardo da Vinci are especially well known – and some were reproduced in textbooks devoted to art or anatomy. Anécorché model can still be found today in the collection of the Royal Academy Schools.

Mandy Havers currently works as a Senior Lecturer and course tutor for the MA Fine Art in Coventry School of Art & Design. She continues to be interested by themes of the body in various stages of dissection, reflected recently in herPiece of Work and Baby. Many of her works reference early modern medical illustration, her Baby reminiscent of images of the fetus floating detaching from the womb in Early Modern obstetric treatises. She has moved towards multimedia work with an ironic use of pretty, domestic materials to capture traditionally gory anatomical subjects.

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