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Ecorché, after Michael Spang
It was common practice for artists to attend dissections and draw from corpses in order to learn how to render the body convincingly. This petite sculpture is a reduced version of a life-size plaster cast made by the British anatomist William Hunter from the body of a dead criminal in 1750, which he used to teach his anatomy lessons. The plaster cast being somewhat fragile and unwieldy to transport, Hunter commissioned the Danish artist, Michael Spang, to make a small wax model after his plaster cast. The wax model was then cast in bronze by Hunter’s friend Edward Burch. In this case, the sculpture was cast in lead which allows for finer detail, and then given a bronze patina (surface treatment). The models were popular among students, easily carried from place to place, and found widely in studios across Europe.
from Calendar of Events, Spring & Summer 2019