Robert Beverly Hale Anatomy studies

This week we started a little after school anatomy class in Salisbury. Organised by my fellow students, Alastair Barford and Caroline, the main focus of each weekly class will be the lectures of Robert Beverly Hale.

There are ten lectures altogether, filmed in black and white at the Art Students’ League of New York in 1976. Each one is a little over an hour in length and we started with the ribcage. Here’s a snippet that I found on YouTube, which I hope will give a flavour of the full version.

I found this lecture to be so helpful and in-depth that I felt a bit dumb at realising how much I had been failing to understand about the structure of the human body previous to watching it. Despite my owning (and regularly referring to) several anatomy books, studying the class skeleton, and having my very own human structure to prod (albeit covered in muscle and skin), I simply didn’t register some aspects of what is joined to what and why. I think it took a lecture such as this, pointing things out in sometimes unexpected ways, to actually draw my attention to things that I had simply been blind to before. For instance, the shape and angle of the upper ribs and how that relates to the throat and functions thereof; the inner curve of the spine and where the internal organs must fit; the vertebrae and what the flesh sits on top of. It sounds obvious, and I’m sure that unconsciously there’s a lot you innately understand on a visual level. Still, I really got a lot out of this session and without doubt it helped me to analyse the figure better during the following day’s life drawing.

Next… the pelvis.