Anatomy for Sculptors, Understanding the Human Figure
At the beginning of the 1990s, on the ruins of the USSR, in the newly formed Latvian nation, a young person, named Uldis Zarins, full of ideals and hopes, dreamed of becoming a sculptor. In 1994, he was accepted to the Art College of Riga. Studies were difficult and competition was fierce, but they resulted in satisfaction. Every day he replicated famous classical Greek portraits, busts, and figures in clay. The outlook prevailed, that frequent replication of antique sculptures would facilitate the understanding of form creation. After only half a year, Uldis understood that eyes, of
course, adapt, and hands become more agile; however, understanding of the form did not materialize.
The Cheek of the Amazon
One day, when replicating the head of the Amazon portrait of famous sculptor Polykleitos, he ran into a problem: How
to construct a cheek? It was clear that the form was not just a sphere, but several complicated forms combined. He thought: “It would be great to understand what these forms are and how they go together!” Teachers only discouraged, saying: “Study, research, measure!” – But what to measure, when there aren’t even
any corners, nor facets!? A teacher answered: “Study anatomy, maybe you’ll get by somehow.”
First Anatomy Studies
A modeling teacher told Uldis: “If you want to understand everything, here is a human skull and anatomy book. Study and create an écorché for us!” Uldis decided to create a bust with shoulders. All of its muscles were in place, however, the sculpture looked bad. The main thing was that his understanding of the form had not increased one bit! In the place of the form, he had studied muscles. In digging through a mountain of anatomy books, Uldis realized that they were all meant for painters and drawers. He found that all of these books were equally boring, with scant, chaotic drawings. “No one, it turns out, has thought about sculptors!” Uldis found only one anatomy book, which only slightly touched on the form — Gottﬁed Bammes’ Der nackte Mensch. Then he asked himself the question: “Why are there so few pictures in the books and so much text!”
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