nosce te ipsum (know thyself)

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The area I complete this week is a long 45 x 7″ strip that sits across a lower part of my current composition. The study is of my father. I said earlier that he’s always had strong physical presence. I imply this by including details of basic tissue like muscle and adipose.

I want to include bone tissue. He broke few bones, the wrist in particular, while riding a motorcycle. I recall he cut the cast of himself. His wrist healed slightly crooked. I think he liked that. I drew bone tissue in my mothers image. I want to do something different – connective tissue feels right here instead.

There are 3 types of muscle tissue in the human body so I study and draw out each. And the adipose tissue I finished yesterday, is the first detail below.

IMG_7393Adipose tissue ↑, better known as body fat, located beneath the skin, around the organs, in the bone marrow and in breast tissue. The small composition includes the 2 types: white (WAT) and brown (BAT). Its main role is to store energy, it also cushion and insulates the body. I have a tendency to run cold, even here in Phoenix. I’ll think of my BAT next time I’m shivering.

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This second study ↑ is Cardiac Muscle, unique in that it relies on blood and electrical supply to deliver oxygen and nutrients and remove waste product. It is almost completely reliant on oxygen to function.

This next study below is of cartilage ↓.

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And the last image is smooth muscle tissue.

IMG_7391While researching I learn general information about muscles and connective tissues is relatively lacking in ancient and medieval anatomy. We don’t see any real study occur until the Renaissance.

Enter Leonardo, who combines observation of the living with dissections of the dead. And Versalius, who publishes a book titled On the Fabric of the Human Being. Valverde combines images of muscles with the adage Nosce te ipsum (Know thyself). Later on muscles are studied in connection to motion, not only in the body, but in the world. Descartes describes muscles and tendons as devices and springs which seem to set nerves in motion , giving the body machine like association. And I find Blavatsky’s words, that basically usher us into the 20th century – Man is a little world-a microcosm inside the great universe…in the matrix of the macrocosmos…He is in it as it is in him…

I teach college level drawing. Sometimes I think I’d like to teach anatomy class. I would have students draw out parts and relate them to systems, and then to themselves. It would not be a science class. I am not sure it would even be an art class. It would be a class for the lay person wanting to know themselves more fully.

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