Ink and oil pencil on paper
The cadavers at Drexel had to stay damp, so they were covered in wet cloths and plastic bags when not being studied. We would re-wet them with sponges and cover them back up after drawing.
Ink and oil pencil on paper
The cadavers at Drexel were in various stages of dissection, depending on what the med students were studying or being tested on. Michael Grimaldi would find ones that fit the day’s topic and identify what was what and how it functioned.
Ink and wax pencil on paper
In terms of coloration, the cadaver's muscular tissue tended to be pale red/magenta, while fatty tissues were yellow-ish. Some tendons called aponeuroses had an iridescent quality but that's not in this sketch...
Graphite and oil pencil on paper.
I painted this watercolor sketch on the last day of the class at Drexel. By then I had worked up the nerve to paint in the lab, and though I had to be careful doing it I'm glad I did. This shows the coloration of the cadavers pretty well, though it's a bit saturated.
Watercolor and white gouache on paper.
Cadaver feet from Drexel. Little pins like the one here near the pinky toe were used to quiz the med students. Grimaldi did the same thing to us, and while I could identify superficial stuff the deeper anatomy was difficult… Tobias Hall did better, and Anna Wakitsch almost always got it. But not always.
Ink and wax pencil on paper.
We were able to manipulate the cadavers to some extent, propping up limbs and such for study as in this sketch. Also, by pulling the tendons it was possible to identify the action of certain muscles, which was especially useful with all the intricacies of the lower arm and hand anatomy.
Ink and oil pencil on paper.
There are so many tendons in the hand! I think this oil painting I did that term of a cadaver hand gets across the complexity …
Oil on panel.
There were days at Drexel when no med students were around, and we had the lab to ourselves. On those days we’d leave the overhead lights off and just light our subjects with spotlights set up at each station.
Ink, wax pencil and graphite on paper.
A fountain pen sketch from Drexel. The rib cages were cut into sections so that they could be easily removed for examining the internals. The right half of the cadaver, with exposed rib cage and arm, was drawn here.
The med students at Drexel studied the anatomy of the head after it had been separated from the body. It was an intense thing to see but fascinating too, and this non-specific sketch tries to bring across that feeling. We were also able to study the eyes independently.
This is the last of my sketches from Advanced Artistic Anatomy at Drexel University that I’ll publish here… Thanks to Michael Grimaldi for teaching an amazing class and to Drs. Bruce Hirsch and Itzhak Fischer, and Theresa Connors of Drexel University College of Medicine for making it possible. Tobias Hall, Anna Wakitsch, Valerie Gilbert and I all found it a valuable experience. And thanks to Shake Shack because that’s where we all had burgers after a hard days drawing in the lab.
During my third term at the New York Academy of Art, I had the amazing opportunity to study Advanced Artistic Anatomy with Michael Grimaldi! Three other students and I traveled once a week to Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, and there, after donning lab coats and goggles, we studied cadavers through sketching under Grimaldi's supervision. It was a profound experience.