An écorché (French pronunciation: ​[ekɔʁʃe]) is a figure drawn, painted, or sculpted showing the muscles of the body without skin, normally as a figure study for another work or as an exercise for a student artist. The Renaissance-era architect, theorist and all-around Renaissance man, Leon Battista Alberti, recommended that when painters intend to depict a nude, they should first arrange the muscles and bones, then depict the overlying skin.[1]

Some of the first well known studies of this kind were performed by Leonardo da Vinci, who dissected cadavers and created detailed drawings of them. However, there are some accounts of this same practice taking place as far back as ancient Greece, though the specifics are not known.

A Dead or Moribund Man in Bust Length
Écorché by Leonardo da Vinci.
Écorché cavalier Fragonard Alfort 1
An écorché (with mummification) by the French anatomist Honoré Fragonard
0 Écorché - Paulus Pontius - SNR - 3 PONTIUS - BNF (3)
Écorché by Paulus Pontius.


The term écorché, meaning literally "flayed", came into usage via the French Academies (such as the École des Beaux Arts) in the 19th century.[1]


Although there are some accounts of practices similar to écorché as far back as ancient Greece, the degree of similarity is unclear. The term as used today can be applied with the greatest confidence to the Renaissance period onwards.


During the Renaissance in Italy, around the 1450 to 1600, the rebirth of classical Greek and Roman characteristics in art led to the studies of the human anatomy. The practice of dissecting the human body was banned for many centuries due to the belief that body and soul were inseparable. It wasn’t until the election of Pope Boniface VIII that the practice of dissection was once again allowed for observation.[2][3] Many painters and artists documented and even performed the dissections themselves by taking careful observations of the human body. Among them were Leonardo da Vinci and Andreas Vesalius, two of the most influential artists in anatomical illustrations.[4] Leonardo da Vinci, in particular, was very detailed in his studies that he was known as the “artist-anatomist” for the creation of a new science and the creative depiction to anatomy. Leonardo’s anatomical studies contributed to artistic exploration of the movement of the muscles, joints and bones. His goal was to analyze and understand the instruments behind the postures and gestures in the human body.[5]

17th–19th centuries

The study of anatomical figures became popular among the medical academies across Europe around the 17th and 18th century, especially when there was a lack of bodies available for dissections.[4] Medical students relied on these figures because they provided a good representation of what the anatomical model looks like. The écorché (flayed) figures were made to look like the skin was removed from the body, exposing the muscles and vessels of the model. Some figures were created to strip away the layers of muscles and reveal the skeleton of the model. Many of the life-size scale écorché figures were reproduced in a smaller scale out of bronze that could be easily distributed.[6]

Écorché figures were commonly made out of many different materials: bronze, ivory, plaster, wax, or wood. By the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, wax was the most popular use of material in creating écorché statues. The production of colored wax anatomies allowed for a variety of hues and tone that makes the models appear realistic.[7]

21st century

The écorché form of study still continues at traditional schools throughout the world including the New York Academy of Art, the Art Students League of New York, the Grand Central Academy of Art in New York City, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, and the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.[8]


  1. ^ a b Écorché defined at ArtLex.com
  2. ^ Lemire, M (1 December 1992). "Representation of the human body: the colored wax anatomic models of the 18th and 19th centuries in the revival of medical instruction". Surgical and Radiologic Anatomy. 14 (4): 283–291. doi:10.1007/BF01794751.
  3. ^ Ginn, Sheryl R.; Lorusso, Lorenzo (16 July 2008). "Brain, Mind, and Body: Interactions with Art in Renaissance Italy". Journal of the History of the Neurosciences. 17 (3): 295–313. doi:10.1080/09647040701575900. PMID 18629698.
  4. ^ a b Wallace, Martin Kemp, Marina (2001). Spectacular bodies : the art and science of the human body from Leonardo to now. London: Hayward Gallery. pp. 22–90. ISBN 978-0520227927.
  5. ^ Keele, Kenneth D. (October 1964). "Leonardo Da Vinci's Influence on Renaissance Anatomy". Medical History. 8 (4): 360–370. doi:10.1017/s0025727300029835. PMC 1033412. PMID 14230140.
  6. ^ Owen, Harry (1 April 2012). "Early Use of Simulation in Medical Education". Simulation in Healthcare: the Journal of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. 7 (2): 102–116. doi:10.1097/SIH.0b013e3182415a91. PMID 22374231.
  7. ^ DARLINGTON, ANNE (1 December 1986). "The Teaching of Anatomy and the Royal Academy of Arts 1768-1782". Journal of Art & Design Education. 5 (3): 263–271. doi:10.1111/j.1476-8070.1986.tb00207.x.
  8. ^ "Academy of Art University On Campus Labs" (PDF). academyart.edu. Academy of Art University. Retrieved 23 November 2016.

External links

  • Media related to Écorché at Wikimedia Commons
89th Scripps National Spelling Bee

The 89th Scripps National Spelling Bee was held at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland (its sixth year at this location) on May 24–26, 2016.


The abdomen (less formally called the belly, stomach, tummy or midriff) constitutes the part of the body between the thorax (chest) and pelvis, in humans and in other vertebrates. The abdomen is the frontal part of the abdominal segment of the trunk, the dorsal part of this segment being the back of the abdomen. The region occupied by the abdomen is termed the abdominal cavity. In arthropods it is the posterior tagma of the body; it follows the thorax or cephalothorax. The abdomen stretches from the thorax at the thoracic diaphragm to the pelvis at the pelvic brim. The pelvic brim stretches from the lumbosacral joint (the intervertebral disc between L5 and S1) to the pubic symphysis and is the edge of the pelvic inlet. The space above this inlet and under the thoracic diaphragm is termed the abdominal cavity. The boundary of the abdominal cavity is the abdominal wall in the front and the peritoneal surface at the rear.

Alphonse Lami

Alphonse Lami (22 June 1822, Paris-17 July 1867, Alexandria) was a French sculptor and Egyptologist of Italian descent.


The axilla (also, armpit, underarm or oxter) is the area on the human body directly under the joint where the arm connects to the shoulder. It also provides the under-arm sweat gland.

In humans, the formation of body odor happens mostly in the axillary region. These odorant substances serve as pheromones which play a role related to mating. The underarm regions seem more important than the genital region for body odor which may be related to human bipedalism.

Cadaver Tomb of René of Chalon

The Cadaver Tomb of René of Chalon (French: Transi de René de Chalon, also known as the Memorial to the Heart of René de Chalon or The Skeleton) is a late Gothic period funerary monument, known as a transi, in the church of Saint-Étienne at Bar-le-Duc, in northeastern France. It consists of an altarpiece and a limestone statue of a putrefied and skinless corpse which stands upright and extends his left hand outwards. Completed sometime between 1544 and 1557, the majority of its construction is attributed to the French sculptor Ligier Richier. Other elements, including the coat of arms and funeral drapery, were added in the 16th and 18th centuries respectively.

The tomb dates from a period of societal anxiety over death, as plague, war and religious conflicts ravaged Europe. It was commissioned as the resting place of René of Chalon, Prince of Orange, son-in-law of Duke Antoine of Lorraine. René was killed aged 25 at the siege of St. Dizier on 15 July 1544, from a wound sustained the previous day. Richier presents him as an écorché, with his skin and muscles decayed, leaving him reduced to a skeleton. This apparently fulfilled his deathbed wish that his tomb depict his body as it would be three years after his death. His left arm is raised as if gesturing towards heaven. Supposedly, at one time his heart was held in a reliquary placed in the hand of the figure's raised arm. Unusually for contemporaneous objects of this type, his skeleton is standing, making it a "living corpse", an innovation that was to become highly influential. The tomb effigy is positioned above the carved marble and limestone altarpiece.

Designated a Monument historique on 18 June 1898, the tomb was moved for safekeeping to the Panthéon in Paris during the First World War, before being returned to Bar-le-Duc in 1920. Both the statue and altarpiece underwent extensive restoration between 1998 and 2003. Replicas of the statue are in the Musée Barrois in Bar-le-Duc and the Palais de Chaillot, Paris.

Chaim Soutine

Chaïm Soutine (13 January 1893 – 9 August 1943) was a Russian-French painter of Jewish origin. Soutine made a major contribution to the expressionist movement while living in Paris.

Inspired by classic painting in the European tradition, exemplified by the works of Rembrandt, Chardin and Courbet, Soutine developed an individual style more concerned with shape, color, and texture over representation, which served as a bridge between more traditional approaches and the developing form of Abstract Expressionism.


The face is the front of an animal's head that features three of the head's sense organs, the eyes, nose, and mouth, and through which animals express many of their emotions. The face is crucial for human identity, and damage such as scarring or developmental deformities affects the psyche adversely.

Honoré Fragonard

Honoré Fragonard (13 June 1732 – 5 April 1799) was a French anatomist, now remembered primarily for his remarkable collection of écorchés (flayed figures) in the Musée Fragonard d'Alfort.

Fragonard was born in Grasse as cousin to painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard. After studying surgery, in 1759 he obtained his license and in 1762 was recruited by Claude Bourgelat, founder of the world's first veterinary school in Lyon. There Fragonard began to make his first anatomical exhibits. In 1765 Louis XV initiated a veterinary school in Paris, first resident at rue Sainte Appoline but in 1766 moving to the suburb of Alfort (today the École nationale vétérinaire d'Alfort in Maisons-Alfort). There Fragonard served as the school's first professor of anatomy for six years, preparing thousands of anatomical pieces, but was expelled in 1771 as a madman. His ostentatious specimens were housed among many other objects of natural history and comparative anatomy. He subsequently continued to prepare dissections in his home, gaining income by selling his works to the aristocracy.

Fragonard was careful in his dissections and preserved the results via means never divulged, but which may have been based on those of Jean-Joseph Sue. His pieces were often prepared for theatrical effect rather than scientific exhibition, as can be seen in the surviving pieces in the Musée Fragonard d'Alfort. In 1793, along with his cousin, he became a member of the Jury national des arts, and in the following year the Commission temporaire des arts. In this position he collected his work at Alfort for an envisioned Office National d'Anatomie; but it never materialized and most of his work was dispersed. Despondent, he subsequently was named director of anatomy at the newly created École de Santé de Paris, but died in Charenton on 5 April 1799.

Jean-Robert Ipoustéguy

Jean-Robert Ipoustéguy ((1920-01-06)January 6, 1920 – (2006-02-08)February 8, 2006), a figurative French sculptor, was born "Jean Robert" in Dun-sur-Meuse. His artwork had a distinct style, combining abstract elements with the human figure, often in the écorché style of French anatomists. The American writer John Updike once wrote that he "may be France's foremost living sculptor, but he is little known in the United States". He and other critics noted sharp contrasts between rough and smooth, abstract and realistic, tender and violent, delicate and crude, and many other paired oppositions in his artwork, and his recurrent themes of sex, birth, growth, decay, death, and resurrection.

Ipoustéguy was unafraid to depict emotional intensity in a sometimes controversial way; several of his major commissioned works were rejected, but later installed as planned, or in other locations.

Juste de Juste

Juste de Juste (ca. 1505 – ca. 1559) was a Franco-Italian sculptor and printmaker in etching, a member of the Betti family of sculptors from near Florence, who became known as the Juste family in France, where Juste de Juste's father Antonio and his two brothers emigrated and spent most of their careers. Juste de Juste has been widely accepted as the author of seventeen etchings of naked or écorché (flayed) male figures signed with a complicated monogram. He also worked as a stuccoist of the School of Fontainebleau under Rosso Fiorentino.

Juste de Juste was born in Tours, and trained by his uncle Jean Juste, his father having died in 1519. He worked with Jean on the mausoleum of Louis XII of France at St-Denis, which occupied his uncle for almost fifteen years from 1516–1531, being especially responsible for the four seated Virtues. In 1529 he was still living in Tours when Francis I commissioned him to make marble sculptures of Hercules and Leda, now lost, and in 1533 he was appointed Sculpteur du Roi (a non-exclusive appointment) as his father and uncles had been before him. The year 1531 marked the beginning of the "First School of Fontainebleau", where Juste de Juste spent most of the period 1531-37, before rejoining the family workshop.

Juste de Juste left a set of twelve small single etched figures (about 195 x 83 mm each; Zerner 6-17) and another set of five larger prints each showing five or six naked male figures forming improbable human pyramids (these about 267 x 205 mm; Zerner 1-5). All the figures are elongated and muscular and many of their faces have anguished grimaces; over much of their bodies the musculature is so exposed they seem flayed, but they have hair and faces. They are usually interpreted as academic exercises in drawing the male figure, perhaps related to the art student's game of marking a number of dots on a piece of paper and then constructing a figure to incorporate them - it is typical of such exercises that the figures touch the frame of the image at several points. The etching technique is personal and direct, but probably not that of a practised printmaker. Like many Fontainbleau prints, the technical finish of the etching is poor, with many unintended marks and variations in the strength of lines, but the images have an intriguing impact. In the case of both sets there is some evidence that there were other members which have not survived.Only the larger set have the monogram, now agreed to read ETSVI, or in reverse IVSTE -"Juste". An alternative interpretation has been that they refer to an obscure engraver, Jean Viset, about whom little is known except that he worked at Fontainebleau in 1536. All the prints are rare - again like most School of Fontainebleau prints.

The larger set is often mentioned in the context of works by Henri Matisse culminating in his The Dance (second version) in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.He was apparently still living in Tours, where the family workshop continued, at his death about 1559.

Juste family

Juste or Giusti is the name conventionally applied to a family of Italian sculptors.

Their real name was Betti, originally from the area of San Martino a Mensola, a church in Florence. Giusto Betti, whose name was afterwards given to the whole family, and Andrea are the first two known to us. Neither seems to have gone out of Italy. But Andrea had three sons - Antonio or Antoine Juste (1479-1519), Andrew (born about 1483), and John or Jean Juste, the best known of the house (1485-1549) - all of whom early emigrated to France and figured prominently during the Renaissance. With Francesco Laurana they stand as the most brilliant representatives and the most active emissaries of Italian art beyond the Alps. Juste de Juste (ca. 1505-ca. 1559), son of Antonio and pupil of Jean, has been widely accepted as the author of some well-known etchings of naked or écorché (flayed) male figures signed with a complicated monogram. He also worked as a stuccoist of the School of Fontainebleau under Rosso Fiorentino.As early as 1504 the three brothers were in Brittany, at Dol, executing the monument of Bishop Thomas James. Later, they separated. Antoine worked for the Cardinal d'Amboise in the castle of Gaillon; while Jean, attracted to Tours, spent a few years in the atelier of Michel Colombe, famous as the sculptor of the "Entombment" in the Abbey of Solesmes. Colombe was the last representative of the Dijon School, founded by Claus Sluter under the first dukes of Burgundy. At his school Jean Juste became imbued with the realism of Flanders, slightly softened and tempered with French delicacy. Through this combination of qualities, he created for himself a style whose charm consisted in its flexibility and complexity. At the death of Michel Colombe (1512) the Justes worked again in concert and inherited his fame. Francis I of France commissioned them to execute the mausoleum of Louis XII at St-Denis, and this occupied almost fifteen years (1516–31). But Antoine's share in this work was slight, as he died in 1519. The honour of this work belongs entirely to his brother Jean.

The original conception seems to have been Perréal's, and yet it was not wholly his. The iconography of tombs was extremely rich in France in the fifteenth century. Its main theme consists of a gisant or recumbent effigy of the deceased, laid upon a funeral couch surmounting the sarcophagus, upon the sides of which a procession of mourners is represented. The most celebrated example of this style is the monument of Philip the Bold by Claus Sluter, at Champmol, Dijon (1405–10), of which there have been several variants, down to the monument of Philippe Pot (1480) in the Louvre. The tomb of Louis XII inaugurated a new tradition, or rather a colossal development of the subject. The hero is represented kneeling on a catafalque beneath which the gisant appears as a naked, emaciated corpse, "such as death has made it for us".

Jean Juste also executed the tombs of Philippe de Montmorency and of Artus Gouffier in the church of Oiron (Deux-Sèvres), that of Jean Rieux, at Ancenis, of Thomas Bohier, at St-Saturnin, Tours, and of the Abbé Louis de Crévent at the Trinité, Vendôme. He had one son, John the second, with his cousin Juste de Juste the last sculptor of the family, who died in 1577, and of whom some works are to be seen in the churches of Oiron and Champeaux.

Les Écorchés

"Les Écorchés" is the seventh episode of the second season of the HBO science-fiction thriller television series Westworld. The episode aired on June 3, 2018. It was written by Jordan Goldberg and Ron Fitzgerald and directed by Nicole Kassell.

Ligier Richier

Ligier Richier (c. 1500–1567) was a French sculptor active in Saint-Mihiel in north-eastern France.

Richier primarily worked in the churches of his native Saint-Mihiel and from 1530 he enjoyed the protection of Duke Antoine of Lorraine, for whom he did important work. Whilst Richier did sometimes work in wood, he preferred the pale, soft limestone with its fine grain, and few veins, extracted at Saint Mihiel and Sorcy and when working in this medium he experimented with refined polishing techniques, with which he was able to give the stone a marble-like appearance. One of his finest works is the "Groupe de la Passion", consisting of 13 life-size figures made in the local stone of the Meuse region. It can be found in the Church of St. Étienne. It is also known as the "Pâmoison de la Vierge" (Swoon of the Virgin, the Virgin fainting, supported by St John). Other works attributed to him are in the Church of St. Pierre, Bar-le-Duc, and in the Louvre.

His work "Le Transi de René de Chalon" is in the church of Saint-Étienne i, Bar-le-Duc. Made in Sorcy stone and standing at 1m74cm, it depicts the corpse of Rene de Chalon, Prince of Orange (who died on the 15th of July 1544) in the form of a flayed corpse clutching its own heart.

Michèle Van de Roer

Michèle Van de Roer (born September 12, 1956 in The Netherlands at Delft) is a contemporary French artist: a painter, designer, photographer, and engraver. She studied formally at the École d'Arts de Valence, Pratt Institute of Design in New York, and École Nationale Supérieure du Paysage in Versailles. Van de Roer currently works at the Fondation La Ruche in Montparnasse, Paris and is also an Adjunct Professor of landscape design at École Nationale Supérieure du Paysage.


Muscleman may denote any man with well-developed muscles, in particular a bodybuilder. In art-related and anatomical contexts, the term is also used for a model in wax (or, in modern times, of unbreakable plastic material) showing the muscles of a man. Such a figure showing the muscles of the human body without skin is also called écorché.

Related and/or more specific uses include:

Muscleman, translated title of Japanese comic KinnikumanMuscle Man or Muscle Men may refer to M.U.S.C.L.E., a line of collectible toy figures produced in the U.S. from 1985-1988

Rob Gutteridge

Rob Gutteridge is a South Australian artist and arts educator. As well as teaching at Adelaide Central School of Art, Gutteridge runs the Rob Gutteridge School of Classical Realism.


Smugglerius is an écorché sculpture of a man posed in imitation of the ancient Roman sculpture known as the Dying Gaul. The original bronze cast was made in 1776 by Agostino Carlini for William Hunter, first Professor of Anatomy at the Royal Academy Schools, from the body of a muscular criminal, flayed after he was hanged at Tyburn. The criminal was thought to be a smuggler, and so the cast of his body was given the mocking cod Latin name "Smugglerius".

The original bronze cast has been lost, but plaster cast copies made by William Pink in 1854 survive at the Royal Academy Schools in London and at Edinburgh College of Art. It is the best (and the best preserved) of the anatomical casts held by the Royal Academy, and has been sketched by many art students. A particularly famous drawing was made by William Linnell in 1840, and now held by the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

Research in 2010 tentatively identified the "smuggler" as James Langar, hanged on 12 April 1776 after being convicted at the Old Bailey on 21 February as a footpad (convicted on two charges, and acquitted on two other charges). However, Langar was not sentenced to be dissected and anatomized (unlike, for example, Thomas Henman and Benjamin Harley, smugglers convicted of murdering a customs officer on 22 May 1776 and executed 5 days later).

The subject may be inspired by earlier works such as Bernardino Genga's 1691 book Anatomia, which includes écorché drawings of classical sculptures, including the Farnese Hercules, Laocoön and the Borghese Gladiator.

Stain (heraldry)

In heraldry, a stain (sometimes termed stainand colour or staynard colour) is one of a few non-standard tinctures or colours (namely murrey, sanguine and tenné), which are only known to occur in post-medieval heraldry and are thought to denote a rebatement of honour. Almost none of these rebatements are found in fact of heraldic practice, however, and in British heraldry the stains find only exceptional use, other than for purposes of livery.

Torrie horse

The Torrie horse or Mattei horse is a bronze Renaissance anatomical sculpture of a horse, created in Florence by Giambologna in the 1580s.

The horse is depicted on two legs, with the right fore and left rear foot raised, perhaps at the trot. It is écorché (flayed) with the skin removed so the underlying musculature is clearly visible, and stands about 90 centimetres (35 in) high

The sculpture may have been created as a preliminary a study for Giambologna's equestrian statue of Duke Cosimo cast in 1591 and displayed at the Piazza della Signoria in Florence. It is similar to Giambologna's statue of a pacing horse. It shows influence from some écorché drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, made for his uncompleted equestrian statue of Gian Giacomo Trivulzio, and resembles prints in Carlo Ruini's book, Anatomia del Cavallo. Some sources identify some inspiration from the ancient equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius in Rome. The anatomical detail of the sculpture prefigures the intimate knowledge gained by George Stubbs from his own dissections.

The sculpture was displayed at the Villa Mattei in Rome in the 18th century. Pope Clement XIV refused permission for Giuseppe Mattei to sell it, along with other artworks from his collection, in 1770. It was later sold to Cardinal Fesch, and then sold from his collection in Paris in June 1816. It was acquired by Charles Loeser in London in 1913, and left to the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence on his death in 1928.

Copies of Giambologna's sculpture original were made at the Vatican foundry, by its directors Giuseppe Valadier and then Francesco Righetti. One of four known full size copies by Valadier was sold at Christie's in July 2013 for £1.4m; this sculpture may have been owned the Dukes of Northumberland before passing through the collection of Boris Kochno and Christian Bérard, and then Alexis von Rosenberg, Baron de Redé before being sold by Sotheby's in Monaco in 1975 for 1.5 million French francs.

A different example of the sculpture was acquired in Rome by James Erskine, later 3rd Erskine baronet of Torrie, around 1803, who attempted to sell it in London in 1804, and then brought it to Scotland. This sculpture is probably a copy by Valadier, as the original was still Cardinal Fesch's collection at the time. Erskine left his art collection, including the sculpture, to the University of Edinburgh on his death in 1836, and now held by the university's Museum of Fine Arts. Another example by Valadier is held by the Michele and Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts, in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The University of Edinburgh veterinary school holds a more recent copy of the Edinburgh sculpture made by Mario Pastori in 1984. The Edinburgh sculpture was also copied to become the Breeders Cup trophy in the 1980s, with smaller replicas presented to the winners of Breeders' Cup World Championships races.

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