Publisher: Monacelli Studio
Publishing Date: 04/06/2021
Author: Roberto Osti
“Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael drew the human body with an understanding of its workings from the inside outside—as have thousands of artists since. Who better to teach this method than Roberto Osti, who trained as a medical illustrator before turning to fine art. . . . Dynamic Human Anatomy, a follow-up to his book Basic Human Anatomy, explains how this methodology can be used to reach beyond static depictions in order to ‘convey a sense of life or express psychological character.'”
Dynamic Human Anatomy picks up where Basic Human Anatomy leaves off and offers artists and art students a deeper understanding of anatomy, including anatomy in motion, and how that essential skill is applied to the creation of fine figurative art.
For a figurative artist, a sure sign of accomplishment is the ability to achieve a transcendent artwork—a work of art that conveys a sense of life or expresses psychological character. Such expertise is cultivated not only by mastering drawing techniques and practicing drawing the human form from life, but also by learning to read the many languages and intentions the human body speaks: movement, power, tension or relaxation, friendliness or aggression, and all the rest.
In my teaching, I aim to give students knowledge of the body’s anatomy and mechanics in as accurate and neutral a way as possible, without influencing their artwork stylistically or aesthetically.
Developing style and aesthetics is each artist’s own personal artistic quest. In my figure anatomy and figure drawing classes, students learn to draw with “informed” lines that result from an analysis of the subject as opposed to a passive, imitative approach.
With this book, I set out to explore, decode, interpret, and describe the infinite dynamic, expressive, and aesthetic combinations the human form can manifest. Explaining depictions of the human figure also means defining what the human figure has represented during various historical periods. Art featuring the human figure created over millenniums tells us about the values of past cultures—just as contemporary values must always be considered when drawing, painting, or sculpting the human figure now, to make our art relevant to the times we live in.
The first two chapters of the book are dedicated to a discussion of human proportions, anatomical knowledge, cultural values, and aesthetic development in Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic Greek art, as well as in art of the Renaissance.
Chapters 3 and 4 study anatomy and the structure of the body using an approach specifically directed toward movement, dynamism, and proportional harmonies. At the core of my method, which follows the Renaissance tradition, is the study of the body’s landmarks and the origin and insertion of muscles.
Understanding these muscular-skeletal connections is essential to appreciating the human form’s structure holistically and is indispensable for accessing the body’s dynamic and aesthetic connections, concepts treated in chapters 5 and 6 .
Chapters 7 and 8 are devoted, respectively, to the hands and head, exploring both their structural and their expressive qualities. Each chapter investigates a specific method of thinking and looking at the human form, giving the reader a multifaceted understanding of this infinite subject while promoting creativity and personal style.
This approach is continued in chapter 9 , where various drawing techniques are connected to different conceptual analyses of the human form. Armed with this knowledge, you will be able to “read” the human form in depth, appreciate its fascinating complexity, avoid a tedious and passive imitative approach, and create accurate, expressive, and aesthetically unique works of art.