Artifacts of Artistic Anatomy

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As a life drawing instructor at the Art Students League from 1898 to 1943, George Bridgman created mural-sized drawings, illustrating his technique of using geometric forms such as boxes, cylinders, and triangular wedges to outline the fundamental shapes and movements of the human body. Executed quickly using large rolls of inexpensive paper, in a variety of colors, the drawings were intended as lecture illustrations that would be discarded. Fortunately, several of these beautiful panels, probably from the late 1930s or early 1940s, survive as part of the Art Students League’s collection. Although the paper is in fragile condition, the drawings, each of which measures approximately 5 x 9 feet, were carefully unrolled and skillfully photographed for the first time by Ed Watkins Photography. The impromptu sketches are alive with movement and spontaneity. The graceful, twisting figures that emerge from a foundation of simple shapes and animated contour lines reveal the process of a master draftsman.

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