The annual exhibition of the Bucharest Municipality Museum Pinacotheque will open at the Suțu Palace on November 8th 2020.

The concept starts from the definition of the artistic anatomy as being the science that aesthetically studies the relations between the dimensions, the reliefs and the proportions of the human body, the game of muscles, different attitudes and movements, with the purpose of theorizing and understanding the beauty. The representation of the human body and the portrait, in the fine arts, supposes that the artist has a serious knowledge of anatomy, physiology, anthropology or psychology.

The paintings, the finished works, which will be exhibited on this occasion are made by great masters of Romanian art: Gheorghe Tattarescu, Theodor Aman, Mișu Popp, Constantin Lecca, G.D. Mirea, Daniel Rosenthal, Nicolae Enea, Mihail Dan, Anton Chladek, Theodor Pallady, Ion Theodorescu-Sion, Ștefan Dimitrescu, Corneliu Baba, Nina Arbore, Mina Byck Wepper, Frederic Storck, Cornel Medrea, etc.

Through this exhibition concept, which is unique in Romania, we are trying to update the importance of studying the artistic anatomy in any plastic education system, because, if the interior mechanisms of the form are not properly mastered, it is not possible to reach to the essences, to the clear formulas of reproduction of the human body, to a language, personalized and stylistically purified up to its material limit.

The lessons of artistic anatomy have been and remain the basis of understanding the way of functioning of that masterpiece of nature, which is the human body. Renaissance artists have realized the importance of having accurate information on the structure and functioning of the human body. Leonardo da Vinci’s interest in anatomy, for example, began in 1489 when he was at the court of the Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza. In the winter of 1510-1511, while collaborating with the young professor of anatomy Marcantonio della Torre at the University of Pavia, Leonardo made more than 240 drawings, accompanied by explanatory notes. These can be found in the famous Anatomical Manuscript A. The study can be considered, symbolically, the beginning that marked the defining way of rendering the human body in the entire European art.

In its modern form, the artistic anatomy began to develop in Romania later, especially from the second half of the 19th century, although quite a long time ago many young Romanians had studied medicine in Western Europe, some even with Vesalius. De Humani Corporis Fabrica circulated on the Romanian territory until the beginning of the 20th century. In 1843, Nicolae Kretzulescu publishes, aided by Carol Davila, a Manual of Descriptive Anatomy, in Romanian language, but with Cyrillic characters.

Prior to the 19th century, post-Byzantine art prevailed in Romania, where the canons of representation of the human body were very strict and spiritualized. The objective representation of the figure and the human body has become desirable only for the Romanian artists who have studied in the West, beginning with the second half of the century, taking into consideration that the anatomy has long been taught in great European art schools.

Later, in 1901, the School of Fine Arts in Bucharest awarded a prize to a work realized by Constantin Brâncuși in collaboration with Dr. Dimitrie Gerota, professor of anatomy. This is Ecroşeu, also exhibited in the halls of the Athenaeum, in 1903. This work demonstrates the high degree to which Brâncu;i came to master the rendering of the artistic anatomy, while he paradoxically is the one who would overturn the rules of academic sculpture.

Another important personality for the outline of this exhibition concept is Joseph Francisc Rainer (1874-1944), who was active at the Department of Anatomy of the Faculty of Medicine in Iasi, then took over the Department of Anatomy in Bucharest, where he remains until 1941. He had extremely important contributions in promoting the concept of functional anatomy, seeking to eliminate the cold and dry descriptions, which involved listing the notions without taking into account the living being.

After the Second World War, abstract or non-figurative art will seriously question the need to study artistic anatomy, its importance today being re-evaluated, especially with the imposition of hyperrealism in contemporary art, which leads to the extreme the desideratum of objective rendering of reality.

In this exhibition, visitors will find out the mysteries of performing a work of artistic anatomy, how to get the correct proportions, what is perspective, when the technique of the shadow is needed and how to get to the finished work form.

Project coordinator: Dr. Elena Olariu, Deputy Manager – Art, Restoration, Conservation