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Thread: The master's odd anatomy

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    The master's odd anatomy

    So I've been "copying" or using the "Drawing anatomy with the masters" as a reference to just practice and get a better grip on anatomy. See my sketchbook to see the results.

    Anyway, I notice some parts of their anatomy are a bit odd. Like their "cauliflower" knees. I've never seen knees like that for real. Nor do the anatomical references in the back of the book support this kind of knee.
    So where do they come from?
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    Care to give us any samples of the pictures that puzzle you? You haven't even said *who* was drawing those "cauliflower knees".
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    Well a good example would be Benvenuto Cellini, Drawing of a satyr:

    The master's odd anatomy

    I did notice however that after having studied the knees more in debt they are less mystifying, but this is still a good example. There just doesn't seem to be that many bones, muscles, tendons, ... around the knee joint.
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    I read that Da Vinci said Michelangelo's men looked like they were stuffed with nuts.
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    Hahahaha! Nice!
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    Sure...there's all kinds of reasons and weirdisms in art. That model may have very well had knees like that with a bit of extra skin or fatty tissue. Take a look at hands sometime - real people's hands...not stylized ideal hands. Some have a bit of arthritis so th eknuckles are enlarged...all kinds of things. If you work from life enough you realize just how much variation exists and how stylized someone like Loomis is.

    The "Masters" were generally either telling stories...or recording some degree of reality...or often creating fantastical allegorical images. They were'nt doing comics, pinups or posters where pop culture trends and styles have so much influence.
    What would Caravaggio do?
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    The master's odd anatomy


    A lot of masters seem to be like that. Even the above that seems accurate. The bottom half though I don't see those muscles that developed or extended ever. But at the same time, peoples anatomy was probably very different from the everyday now. Different nutrition, amounts of working out their bodies. Etc.

    So the 'stylized' master anatomy I'm wondering if it was even stylized.
    As well what Jeff said about people having anatomical differences.
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    That's just heavy stylization and overzealous attention to anatomical minutiae. Cellini had been very prone to overdoing such detail, exaggerating the lumping and bunching-up of tissues. It's very evident in all his work; I think he was either not very interested in encompassing form, or not very good at seeing it. You won't see anything like Donatello's elegant simplicity and balance in Cellini's work.

    The masters were just humans, after all; they were very good at what they did, which is why they are remembered as masters, but it does not mean they had supernatural abilities. Their attentions had their quirks, just like with the rest of us.
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    If you want to study anatomy, then study anatomy.
    If you want to study the old masters, then study the old masters.
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    This sketch by Michelangelo has always disturbed me

    The master's odd anatomy

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_gJ6d5yFc7f...chelangelo.jpg

    The eye doesn't appear in profile and some weird boobage.

    But if anything, I think the masters are entitled to mistakes like anyone else, that's how they learned and got better.
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    This used to disturb me.
    The master's odd anatomy

    Then I learned that, at the time, it wouldn't have been appropriate to use a female model. It would've been difficult to draw a woman if you're just going by memory and how a female form looks fully clothed. Doesn't really address the cauliflower knees, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn if there was a similar reason it was all so exaggerated or overdone, in comparison to realistic anatomy.
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    That Cranach was actually an ideal type at the time... She looks like that not so much because of ignorance as because of the fact that she's been exaggerated to fit an ideal. (Much like the way a fashion illustration will have wildly distorted proportions...) Same with a lot of old master stuff, they're often more concerned with creating ideals than with creating something strictly realistic.

    Plus there was a fair amount of imitating classical sculpture and/or each other, so you see some trends in stylization that get passed around and become increasingly stylized... Especially with artists who didn't have the opportunity to see any real classical sculpture and were imitating prints of other people's drawings of classical sculpture.

    As for Michelangelo, he never did get the hang of women. Probably he never had an opportunity to see any real nude women.

    Da Vinci's drawings are interesting to look at in bulk, you can see him change his mind a lot about anatomy as he progressed with his dissection experiments...
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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    That Cranach was actually an ideal type at the time... She looks like that not so much because of ignorance as because of the fact that she's been exaggerated to fit an ideal. (Much like the way a fashion illustration will have wildly distorted proportions...) Same with a lot of old master stuff, they're often more concerned with creating ideals than with creating something strictly realistic.

    Plus there was a fair amount of imitating classical sculpture and/or each other, so you see some trends in stylization that get passed around and become increasingly stylized... Especially with artists who didn't have the opportunity to see any real classical sculpture and were imitating prints of other people's drawings of classical sculpture.
    Ah, well in that case I'm displeased to have been misinformed, and by my very first art book, too I wonder what other lies I've believed for the last 18 years... Thanks for clearing things up!
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