WHEN ART IMITATES LIFE: EXPLORING THE SCIENTIFIC AND ANATOMICAL PRACTICES OF ARTISTS FROM HELLENISM TO THE BAROQUE
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis thesis is an exploration of the development of anatomy and physiology and its application in art history. Medical imagery and understanding of the human form hold a significant place in art across history, as knowledge of the skeleton and musculature via masters like Leonardo da Vinci, and artists such as Giotto incorporating the teachings of physicians into their works demonstrate how knowledge of the subject led to groundbreaking advancements in technique and realism. I study and articulate the human form across various eras in art, beginning with the Hellenistic turning point from archaic to classical on through the High Renaissance and finishing with the Baroque. The purpose of the thesis is to demonstrate a critical and often overlooked bridge between the humanities and the sciences. In many ways, the two depend on one another, as the human form in paintings falls short and abstract without knowledge of the human anatomy and physiology, and medicine cannot be taught without the technical skills of an artist accurately portraying the vasculature, skeleton, musculature, etc in medicinal textbooks. The thesis will be presented a literature review with supportive visual components based on my findings, as I explore works of art through museums, textbooks, online learning tools, and academic journals.
Degree ProgramArt History