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Introduction to Short Courses Summer 2018 Art and Anatomy Life Drawing - term-time classes

Art and Anatomy

This unique intensive seven-day programme is the final short course we will be offering this summer and it runs from Monday 17 to Sunday 23 September.
Photograph: David Tolley

The Ruskin School of Art’s Art and Anatomy course is based on Dr Sarah Simblet’s well known book, Anatomy for the Artist, (2001). Sarah teaches the course alongside the sculptor and anatomical artist Eleanor Crook, with invited guest lecturer, art historian Dr Roberta Ballestriero. 

Photo: Psalm Kivinen

Art and Anatomy is a seven-day immersive course dedicated to understanding, appreciating and making art from human anatomy, taught through drawing, sculpting, practical demonstration and richly illustrated lectures and slide talks. 

Topics include the skeleton, muscles, tendons and ligaments; how these work in the living figure to produce pose and movement; how anatomical artists in the past have investigated and been inspired by the body; comparing human and animal bones; observational and expressive modes of drawing, on a small and large scale.

The course focuses on the systematic study of Anatomy explored through drawing large scale and in sketch books using graphite, charcoal, brush and ink and coloured pens. You will be taught methods of sculpting using a tactile and expressive modelling wax laid over simple armatures and skulls. Drawing and sculpture are encouraged as processes of research and thinking, as tools for seeing and recording information and ideas. 

Eleanor Crook. Photo: Psalm Kivinen

Muscles of facial expression are explored through sculpting wax over a plaster skull (yours to keep) and a special session is given on forensic facial reconstruction and identity. The torso is sculpted in wax from a life model with very defined muscle anatomy and there is a whole day of drawing from a live model holding static poses and in motion.This course helps you to relate the study of anatomy to your own art practice and interests; developing your personal drawing skills by applying them to this fascinating field with its deep connection to both historic and contemporary art practice. 

You can look forward to leaving with a portfolio full of new work, a deeper understanding of the human body and a wealth of creative ideas for future development.

Fabulously high level of expertise from tutors; very energetic, challenging and demanding (in a good way – no dumbing down). And very friendly, warm, welcoming, supportive & generous. And the facilities (space, materials) were superb.  Course participant 2017

The lectures were given with a sense of a genuine love of the subject. Excellent, extensive knowledge from the tutors. Very inspirational.  Course participant 2017Two identical courses are offered, one at the beginning of the summer programme, and one at the end.

Sarah Simblet. Photo: Psalm Kivinen

Course Dates: Monday 17th September - Sunday 23rd September 2018

Each teaching day runs from 10 am to 5pm and begins with a lecture or demonstration, which leads to morning and afternoon sessions of studio work drawing and making, followed by evening lectures from Sarah, Eleanor or Roberta. The studio is also open for personal study from 9am to 6pm daily. 

The course is taken by amateur and professional artists of both traditional and contemporary practice, sixth formers, teachers, medical students and professionals, and practitioners from fields as diverse as accountancy, para-medicine and ballet. Everyone brings a wealth of life experience and individual interests in the subject. There is plenty of studio space and all materials are provided. There are a maximum of 16 places on each course.

Photo: Psalm Kivinen

Teaching is based in the Ruskin's studios at 74 High Street, Oxford OX1 4BG. Light refreshments are available all day. Lunch can be purchased from a range of nearby cafes and delicatessens.

Tuition is in English. No academic or artistic criteria are required for attendance on this course although all participants must be 16 years old and over. Please be aware that there is limited disabled access at the Ruskin.


Booking a Place

Booking is done through the University of Oxford's online store.   We regret that the Ruskin cannot reserve places or take payment for bookings. 

There are three payment rates available :

i) Standard Adult : £1,015.00

ii) Oxford University students, staff and alumni (10% discount) : £915.00

iii) Students (with a current NUS card) and OAPs (5% discount) : £965.00

If you select a discounted booking rate, you will need to present your University alumni/staff card, NUS card, or some form of identification indicating your OAP status at the start of the course.

These courses are non-residential – participants must arrange their own travel and accommodation.   To enjoy the full Oxford University experience, we recommend booking accommodation in nearby colleges through University Rooms (guests must be 21 or over, or accompanied by someone over 21).


Cancellation Policy

For information on the Ruskin's cancellation policy in relation to the summer courses, please refer to the short course introductory page