Anatomie Maler Studien. Adam BRENNER.
Anatomie Maler Studien.
Anatomie Maler Studien.
Early 19th-Century Anatomical Studies
Attributed to the Austrian Painter Adam Brenner
[Austria?], [c. 1820?].

Anatomie Maler Studien.

Small 8vo [185 x 120 mm], (44) ff. manuscript drawings in pen and black or brown ink and pencil. Bound in late-19th-century cloth-backed marbled boards, manuscript title label affixed to upper cover. Minor wear to spine and board edges. Minor handsoiling and staining in places, minor edge wear to some leaves.

An attractive early 19th-century manuscript of anatomical drawings of the human (male) body, many with muscles keyed and labeled in a minute German script. The notebook is attributed by a German pencil annotation inside its upper cover to the Austrian painter Adam Brenner (1800-1891), who studied principally with Leopold Kupelwieser (1796-1862) and Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller (1793-1865) at the Vienna Academy before becoming a varied professional who produced portraits, genre picture, still lifes, and history paintings.

The notebook offers a full treatment of the male body, with multiple views of torsos, arms, legs, hands, feet, and heads in various positions, with an emphasis on muscle movement during various poses. Many leaves are devoted to painstaking line drawings of individual muscle groups, with these studies apparently made not from a live model, but from a classroom dummy or écorché. Some drawings are derived from plates from the Darstellung des Knochenbaues von dem menschlichen (Vienna, 1806) by Johann Martin Fischer (1740-1820), an artist remembered for his plaster casts of “musclemen” intended for the instruction of artists (with thanks to Juan Bordes for this information). Fischer was from 1785 until his death in 1820 Professor of Anatomy at the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Vienna, and so it is plausible that the present manuscript was made in his classroom.

That the sketchbook is the product of an artist and not a simple anatomist can further be glimpsed in several drawings toward the rear of the volume in which torsos are enlivened by bold pen-and-ink crosshatching and feet are rendered with delicate shading. Although there is a long tradition of printed drawing books helping artists to master the human anatomy, manuscript examples are uncommon, and classroom notebooks from early professional training of academy students rarely survive. That this item can tentatively be connected to Vienna and the ambit of Johann Martin Fischer further enhances its art historical importance.

With thanks to Prof. Juan Bordes for his helpful insights concerning this manuscript.

*Thieme/B. IV, 581; AKL XIV, 121; Österreichisches Biographisches Lexicon (1957), vol. 1., p. 112; Chouland, Geschichte und Bibliographie der anatomischen Abbildung, pp. 148-9.

Price: $3,850.00

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