Skip to main content

Musculoskeletal Anatomy

Hendrick Goltzius,< The Farnese Hercules, ca 1592, engraving on medium weight laid paper, Museum purchase made possible by friends of the Museum of Art, 1994/2.13

MVS 230

Faculty Curator: Michele Bird (School of Kinesiology)

On view: Winter 2024

Like the students in the School of Kinesiology, European artists of the early modern period (approximately the fourteenth to eighteenth century) devoted time and attention to the study of human anatomy. Beginning in the Italian Renaissance, scientific knowledge of the body developed hand in hand with artistic innovations in representing perspective, depth, and volume as scholars gained more detailed understanding of the inner structures of the body through dissection of human corpses.

The attention to anatomical detail in artworks such as those on display for this installation present interesting puzzles to the highly trained eyes of the Kinesiology students. What appears correct in these depictions of the muscles and bones of these human figures? What appears wrong, and can we describe these errors in the advanced language of contemporary anatomical understanding? Throughout the semester, students in Movement Science 230 will closely examine these artworks and write detailed analyses of the artists’ representations of musculoskeletal anatomy.

Works Included In This Collection

Jacob Bos
engraving on laid paper
Bartolommeo da Brescia
etching and engraving on paper
circa 1530-1540
Giovanni Jacopo Caraglio
engraving on cream laid paper
Cornelis van Haarlem; Isaac Claesz van Swanenburg
pen, brown ink and gray wash on laid paper
Marten van Heemskerck
etching on laid paper
2nd half of 16th century
brush, red ink wash and Sanquine on cream paper


Lead support for this exhibition is provided by the University of Michigan Office of the Provost, Erica Gervais Pappendick and Ted Pappendick, the Eleanor Noyes Crumpacker Endowment Fund, and the Oakriver Foundation.