International Journal of Art & Design Education

The Teaching of Anatomy and the Royal Academy of Art 1768-1782

Volume 5.3   1986



This paper traces the historical roots of the study of anatomy amongst artists and focuses on 18th century practice. In particular, the work of the anatomist Dr. William Hunter is described; Hunter, as the first Professor of anatomy at the Royal Academy lay the foundations for subsequent study of corpses by artists. The relationship between art, anatomy and art education is discussed and it is shown that in the 18th century, each was dependent upon the other. The paper derives much of its material form a Ph.D. thesis (University of London) entitled: The teaching of anatomy at the Royal Academy of Arts and the Government Schools 1750 to 1850.