Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

This paper arose from exhibitions in Oxford and Dublin and comprises three experiments which look at the relationship between anatomy and art. In the first experiment, a passport photograph, photographic portrait and portrait in oils, all of the same sitter, show how artistic input transforms anatomy from a mere likeness into works of art. In the second, the reverse is true, as computer techniques render idealized old master images anatomically accurate. The third experiment addresses the biomechanical consequences of anatomical variation and shows that vehicular design is based on mean body shapes, and so it is the average, rather than the idealized, form that is safer in a collision.

Original publication




Journal article


J Anat

Publication Date





577 - 582


anatomical accuracy, art & anatomy, transformation, Anatomy, Anatomy, Artistic, Body Image, Humans, Photography, Portraits as Topic