The underlying structure of the body

LEONARDO da VINCI (1452-1519)

Leonardo da Vincis’ unsatiable curiosity about how the human body functions and his research into anatomy that he documented with hundreds of pages of precise sketches and descriptions have been an invaluable source of information for art history and science ever since.


He was the first known scientist going as far as to dissect the human body to draw what he discovered inside. I find his anatomical drawings mesmerizing by the passion for knowledge and detail that shines through them.


I came across the American contemporary artist Laura Ferguson through a fellow student’s blog- and am so happy I did! I love the multi-layered drawings combining a dreamlike, emotional drawing of the body in combination with the accuracy of the underlying anatomy – the skeleton or soft tissues drawn in precise detail.

“Art creates a different vision of the inner body: one that is personal  rather than medical (though still anatomically accurate), and more reflective of our experience of the bodies we inhabit.” “Drawing myself, I could work from the inside out. ”

To keep it real, Laura draws in the Lab of the NYU School of Medicine with actual dissections, or from various medical imagery and Xrays of herself.  I find her work fascinating with this very personal emotional expression combined with a scientific approach.

Laurafergusonnet. 2017. Laurafergusonnet. [Online]. [25 March 2017]. Available from:

When searching for more art involving X-Rays , I discovered that there is a whole art movement around this, since the beginning of the 20 th century when X-rays started to be used. Flowers and other botanical specimens seem to have been the main subjects, but some more contemporary artists have explored the human body as well.


Nick Veasey is a Bristish contemporary artist working only with Xrays. For some images he uses the huge Xray machines at  borders to produce pictures of vehicles, then he Xrays his skeleton Frida in various poses to complete the images.

His newest project is about superheroes, and what is under the skin of the superhero.

This is how Nick Veasey describes his art:

“I like to challenge this automatic way that we react to just physical appearance by highlighting the, often surprising, inner beauty.”

“By revealing the inside, the quintessential element of my art speculates upon what the manufactured and natural world really consists of.”

I think it is an interesting query, but do not feel that the images answer it. To me they are too simple in a way, without any added emotion or message. They are often humorous, but then I react to that as to just another physical appearance.

Nickveaseycom. 2017. Nickveaseycom. [Online]. [25 March 2017]. Available from:


Hugh Turvey is a British contemporary artist who has worked with Xrays for over 20 years. He uses many objects, many flowers, and sometimes the human form.

Some of his huge installations of colorful XRays of flower details are beautiful;


And other Xray pictures humorous, like “the Fan” with a football shaped brain.

Although funny and colourful , these art works too lack something more personal or a deeper layer that I found in for example Laura Fergusons work.

Hugh turvey, . 2017. XOGRAM. [Online]. [1 April 2017]. Available from:



The yound Polish artist Ada Dobrzelecka shows many layers of  the human body in her oil paintings. At first glimpse I thought she used Xrays too, that she painted over, but looking more closely, I believe her paintings to be all in oil.

The earlier works are rather nightmarish, with cold colours, scared expressions and the many different layers of the face and body creating a scary image.

Her later works from the series “my Inner Garden” are more poetical, with flowers and softer colours, although the many layers are still visible.

I feel pulled in and intrigued by the many layers of stories happening in these paintings.

I can feel that place of anguish and also curiosity at what is underlying our surface. Also I just tried myself to draw on XRays ( and posted the drawings in the “Sketchbook 4 continued” post) and it all became rather nightmarish and full of anguish as well.

Ada dobrzelecka. 2017. Ada Dobrrzelecka. [Online]. [1 April 2017]. Available from:

Saatchiartcom. 2017. Saatchi Art. [Online]. [1 April 2017]. Available from:



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