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Human Anatomy for Artists: The Elements of Form Hardcover – November 7, 1991

ISBN-13: 978-0195052060 ISBN-10: 0195052064 Edition: 1st

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Human Anatomy for Artists: The Elements of Form + Artistic Anatomy + Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1st edition (November 7, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195052064
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195052060
  • Product Dimensions: 12.3 x 9.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Brilliant.... Exquisite drawings.... Detailed descriptions.... Beautiful and extensively labelled photos of models."--American Artist

"Very thorough and well presented."--C. Moone, University of Colorado at Denver

"Extremely detailed and well illustrated. The drawings of bone structure, isolated muscle, muscle groups, followed by corresponding photographs is very useful. Section on mass conceptions compared with photographs is excellent as well. I can't imagine a more detailed reference for figure study."--Alan Hall, Mohave Community College

About the Author

Eliot Goldfinger, a renowned sculptor and illustrator, developed the anatomy program at The New York Academy of Art and has been an instructor at The Art Student's League in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 55 customer reviews
The book is very informative.
Alison A. Adona
I recommend this book to any artist who, is struggling with human anatomy, it helped me out allot!!
This book covers from the skeletal system to muscles, from head to toe, very thoroughly.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 65 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is an extremely exhaustive book and well worth the price. As far as I know, there exists no more comprehensive book on how every muscle interconnects in the human body -- it is truly an encylopedia of the human anatomy.
A few things keep me from giving it a 5 star review.
1: Goldfinger's illustrations are fair, but not masterful, particularly those of the human face.
2: Strangely, there are almost no fully rendered full-body illustrations or even any fully rendered "body part" illustrations -- almost all the good sketches are of isolated body parts alone. For example, there isn't any fully rendered muscular illustration that encompasses both the upper arm AND the lower arm(!) There ARE full body illustrations, but only in a more schematical form.
3: There are no "application" illustrations of the anatomy in case studies such as bending, posing, flexing, etc. Most of the examples are in prone positions.
Granted, much of this information can be taken from any number of other anatomy books, particularly Richer's "Artistic Anatomy," which this book is largely based on and I also highly recommend.
Nevertheless, as a reference guide to the human body, this book has no peer. If you truly want to understand how the muscles of the body interconnect, there is no better alternative. This book is obviously a labour of love.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By drollere on October 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover
this text served me extremely well as i learned figure drawing and is the best anatomical reference i have ever seen, a genuine encyclopedia of anatomy. however, artists should be warned that the approach is analytical (anatomy is broken down into its elements) rather than illustrative (anatomy is presented as pictures of different poses). goldfinger (a sculptor) attempts to explain surface form structurally, from the inside out -- starting with individual bones, then joints, then all visible muscles, facial features (eye, mouth, nose, ear), fat pads, surface veins and arteries, skin folds and finally a gallery of "mass conceptions" of the head, hand and full figure as blocks, continuous planes, cylinders, ovoids and photographed models. (some internal musculature is omitted because it does not affect surface form, but there is extensive information and photo documentation on the facial expression of emotions, largely based on the classic research by ekman and friesen.) this "inside out" approach also determines the content of the 1 to 3 page descriptions of each bone and muscle. in the section on muscles, four diagrams show the skeletal muscle attachments, isolated muscle form, form within surrounding muscles, and surface appearance in lean models, usually from two different points of view. schematic diagrams analyze muscle form into its basic shapes, or show the mechanical effects of muscle contraction. the text is often heavy going but presents unusually detailed and clear explanations of muscle attachments, action, form and interaction with other muscles or joints. there is also much information not available anywhere else, and all sex differences in anatomy (for example in the abdominal musculature and hip bones) are described in the text.Read more ›
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105 of 121 people found the following review helpful By Cathy on November 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Detailed -- and disappointing. There are too many written
descriptions, too many line drawings, too much wasted space (large
margins, half-blank pages) and not enough photographs. The first
photograph appears on page 65. Prior to that, over half the pages are
primarily, or entirely, text. A randomly selected passage (p. 37):
"The tibial platform is divided into medial and lateral condyles.
Their top surfaces have elongated shallow facets. These facets
articulate with the medial and lateral condyles of the femur..."
Much of the text throughout the entire book is of this type.
minuses include the paucity of body positions, and the dearth of
ethnicities and body types. Although the body PARTS are seen from the
front, back, and side, there are no bodies DOING anything. There are
no old people, no children, no fat people, no thin people, and except
for one light-skinned black man, no people of races other than
Caucasian. There is very little depiction of male and female
differences, although there is some descriptive text of them.
the book description says it includes genitalia, there is extremely
little of it -- hardly enough to mention. There is one photo of a
circumcised penis from the front, and one from the side; and the same
of an uncircumcised one. There are two frontal views of the
"female pubic region", one shaved and one unshaved, both
with legs tightly together. All of these photos are on one page, and
that is the extent of the "genitalia", unless you want to
include the page with female breasts.
Read more ›
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Vhy on May 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Obviously, no one book can completely cover the subject of human anatomy, but this is the most complete reference for muscles that I know of. Basically, every muscle has it's own section: a page of illustration & photos, and a page or two of text. As a result, virtually everything about the muslces is clear, and I cannot say this about other books.
There is also information on bones, facial expression, and drawings that simplify the structure of the body. However, I reccomend the book mainly because of how well it covers muslces. This is an especially nice reference if you can also study a real skeleton and live models
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