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The Human Machine (Dover Anatomy for Artists) Paperback – June 1, 1972

2.6 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

What is the difference between art anatomy and Bridgman's concept of the human machine? The human machine is the body as not only a fixed framework but also as a complex work of art which moves and was designed to move.
In over 400 drawings, George B. Bridgman demonstrates the machine through the presentations which made him a gifted lecturer and teacher in his nearly fifty years at the Art Students League in New York and which gave life to drawings by his many students during those years. All skeletal and muscular systems are fully identified, and all are shown in front, back, and side views.
The Human Machine begins with the framework of bones. In each section (head, neck, hand, arm, forearm, elbow, trunk, shoulder, back, scapular region, pelvis, hip, thigh, leg, knee, foot, and toe as well as the combinations of the major sections working together), George Bridgman starts with the skeletal components of the system; then he adds the muscles, shows the changes in the muscles as the body moves and, finally, shows the appearance of the bodily section in action. At the title implies, Bridgman, throughout, supplements his anatomical work with comparative drawings of simple machines. The anatomical approach to figure drawing is the foundation for the study of human form, and as in his other books on figure drawing, Bridgman's Life Drawing and The Book of a Hundred Hands, Bridgman's approach to the subject is important and unique. The Human Machine will give students and serious artists the conception of the human structure as the complex of beautiful machines it is, and will show how bone and muscle structures are solely responsible for our movements and for the shapes which we, at various times, display.  
Unabridged republication of the 1939 edition.  

About the Author

Canadian artist George Brandt Bridgman (1865–1943) studied at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris and taught at New York City's Art Students League. Generations of students have learned the principles of anatomy and figure drawing from his books, which rank among Dover's most popular art instruction texts.
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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Anatomy for Artists
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Revised ed. edition (June 1, 1972)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486227073
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486227078
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #580,634 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By L. Clifton on May 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
I am a commercial artist and an illustrator in training, after coming across a lot of artistic anatomy books over the years I say honestly that this and all the George Bridgman books are the best available. A couple of reasons for this are 1) his clear and totally accurate drawings and 2) he shows us muscle groups that act together rather than just naming every single muscle and leaving it at that. Also, he uses a very visual teaching method, showing the shapes of the muscle masses that are easy to remember. I would suggest that every beginner start with Mr. Bridgman.
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By A Customer on July 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
After purchasing too many sub-par reference books on anatomy for artists, I highly recommend the Bridgeman books. This one stresses the hinges and joints of the body and how their bending and twisting movements affect the external shape of a figure. Nobody has studied the figure as long or as intensely as George Bridgeman and it shows in the superb illustrations, many apparantly constructed from memory. For economy of line and accurate sence of under-structure, the illustrations can't be beat. Incidently, "Bridgman's Complete Guide to Drawing From Life" incorperates much of the above book, along with several others, and is a better buy. (It's also a larger format book!)
I also recommend "The Human Figure: An Anatomy for Artists" by David K. Rubins.
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I purchased this item NEW from Amazon. They need to pull the item down. The publisher should have this product recalled. The broken up pixelated images are partially obscured because they literally transferred to print from an ancient computer or telephone facsimile. The material may have been promising but it is absent in this failed printing. How could you allow ANY drawings to misprint. Less than 1/8 of the illustrations printed properly. This is sloppy plate preparation. The images are supposed to be everything! I was shocked. Most of the pages that were supposed to be covered in sketches are literally blank! Page after page is blank with a notation referencing nothing. If you are looking for illustrated examples do not purchase. This was an absolute waste of time and money.
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By A Customer on January 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
Even though Bridgman's anatomy books have been around for a while, I haven't seen anything better yet. This and his other books helped me tremendously. Keep in mind that these series are not a step by step instructions, they are schematics that you must study and draw at every possible angle and preferably use it as a reference for real figure drawing classes.
The illustrations are somewhat badly printed and hard to make out at times but it's still very helpful especially for the price of these books.
Four stars because of poor print quality.
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Being an artist for twenty plus years...I had low expectations for this book. However insightful, the one glaring drawback is that on several pages the art and the text are very poorly printed. Otherwise this book would be a great addition to the library of any artist.
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There are many pages where illustrations should be that are just spattered with dots, making half of this book completely worthless. You're better finding a PDF version online.
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Format: Paperback
Maybe 3-1/2 stars. (Idea & Layout= 5 stars. Drawing quality= 2 stars.)

Bridgman's The Human Machine is *exceedingly* ambitious in its scope, and could have been exceedingly successful to match, were it not for its *one* pretty obviously glaring problem: these drawings are exceedingly sketchy!

Originally published in 1939, Bridgman passed away in 1943. He was approximately 75 when he made this- possibly a factor in the lack of clarity throughout. If only he had made this at the height of his career(!)- This book is a perfect example of 'what could have been'.

Many people revere this work in spite of all this. It may not compare at 1st glance with the slick, computer-aided & enhanced books of today, but if you're willing to get past the obvious sketchiness here you'll find a veritable gold mine of visual information. Take the overall layout & structure for example. In my opinion, this book's presentation easily rivals that of his more polished & refined work- Constructive Anatomy, which has a more awkward interplay between its words & pictures. The Human Machine moves rapidly & logically, building the figure with simple lines first, then showing how bones & muscles interact with each other & with the figure's simplified outline, to give an impression of the whole figure & its parts, all at once in a few detailed pages. It's this *overall* conception of the human figure that appeals to the many who give this work a chance. Bridgman applies all this to the figure's actions & mechanisms as well- it's not just about bones & muscles here, like so many anatomy books tend to be. And Bridgman's lines, though sketchy here, still tend to be an accurate record of the figure, worthy of study. He *usually* chooses his lines with the precision & beauty we've come to expect.
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I'll keep this one short, I bought my first Bridman book as a recomendation and it's one o f the best purchases I've done. cant put it down. If you want a condensed view check life drawing by the same author, this here works if you wanna understand the mechanics of the body in a quick way. the printing could be a little better and Id be thrilld to have a hc edition but the ideas in here are priceless for me
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