Human head sculpted in clay, skull with first set of muscles

  • Heather Spears, photography ICandy
  • Digital Images
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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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Human head sculpted in clay, skull with first set of muscles. Heather Spears, photography ICandy. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0). Source: Wellcome Collection.

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About this work


Photograph showing the sculptor's hand using a tool to manipulate the masseter (one of the muscles used for chewing) on a human head modelled in clay. At this stage of anatomically modelling a human head, the skull has been completed and the first set of muscles (formed with clay mixed with red oxide for contrast) added. Lines or scoring on the muscles indicates fibre direction. By carefully pressing muscles against the bone, they take on their anatomical shape without further modelling required. The skull is viewed from behind (posterior view) and was created by the sculptor largely working from this same view primarily by touch. With the cranium completed, the sculptor now continues to work from all sides. This image forms part of a series of work titled "Stranger than a Wolf" showing the gradual anatomical creation of a human head in clay. For the entire process (forming the cranial bone structure and placing the facial muscles, features and skin) see related images. As a reference, a male human skull was chosen from the Panum Collection, Copenhagen. Sculptor Ellie Scheepens was asked to reproduce it with attention to comparison and touch, and without viewing the front of the head and face (anterior view) at all. This unique method of forensic modelling was directed throughout the process by artist Heather Spears. Concept: artist, writer and educator Heather Spears. Sculpture: Ellie Scheepens. Photography: Orsolya Benkóczi and Isaac Carter.

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