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Anatomy Lesson 20, Part 1 – Male Anatomy

Male Anatomy Video

In this video lesson, you will discover the male anatomy.

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Male Anatomy for Figurative Artists

The model for this task will be the sculpture of David.

The marble sculpture of David was carved more than 500 years ago by one of the most prominent Renaissance artists, Michelangelo Buonarroti. Arguably, David is the most famous sculpture in the world.  

Michelangelo wasn’t the first sculptor who was commissioned to create it, this huge piece of marble was carved by two sculptors before him. Both of them failed to complete the job. 

Male Anatomy

The marble piece had a very difficult shape. It was thick in some places, and very thin in others. So, sculptors were very confused and unable to make good use of it. In fact, this finest quality piece of marble was neglected for 25 years before Michelangelo took the commission to reveal the David statue from this piece of marble.

On August 16th, 1501, Michelangelo was given the contract to undertake this challenging task. It took him several years before he finally completed the job in 1504. It was, indeed, a very difficult task. The statue is seventeen feet high and only two feet deep in the middle. 
The statue portrays the Biblical hero David, which was a favorite subject of art in the Florentine Republic. 

The statue was originally intended to stand on the rooftop of the Florence Cathedral. 

However, on January 25th, 1504, when Michelangelo was about to complete the statue, Florentine authorities acknowledged it that it would be very difficult to raise this six-ton statue onto the roof of the cathedral. 

That is why they brought together a committee of thirty Florentine citizens, including Leonardo da Vinci and Sandro Botticelli, to decide where to place David. 

In June, 1504, David was placed next to the entrance to the Palazzo Vecchio, Florentine’s town hall. 

Male Anatomy in Contrapposto

It is time to explain the male anatomy and proportions on this example of The David sculpture.

The figure’s height can be divided in half. The geometrical center coincides with the pubic bone of the pelvis. 

The top part can also be divided in four equal parts. The top one-eighth of the body is the height of the head. 

In the contrapposto position, the spine is not straight, but curved. This is because the pelvis is tilted, being supported by just one leg while another leg helps to keep balance. 

In the contrapposto, the axis of the pelvis and the axis of the shoulders are diverging, which means they are tilted in opposite directions.
 
The bottom edge of the ribcage follows the same tilt as the axis of the shoulders. 

Going downward, the ribcage becomes wider and reaches its widest point at the eighth rib pair. 

The pelvis shape resembles a basin. The width of the pelvis is slightly bigger than the ribcage. 

The hip joints are located on the same level as the pubic bone. 

The engaged leg axis, tilted diagonally and spans as the straight line from the hip joint to the footprint. 

Here is the important male anatomy proportion for a standing figure. The distance from the toes to the top edge of the kneecap is the same as from the kneecap to the top edge of the pelvis. 

This is the same distance as from the pubic bone to the top edge of the breastbone. 

The shaft of the thighbone is tilted even more than the axis of the engaged leg. 

The elbow is located on the same level as the bottom edge of the ribcage. 

The bottom edge of the chest muscle coincides with the sixth and seventh ribs, which are on the same level as the lower edge of the breastbone.
 
The flank pads of the external oblique muscle are located below the ribcage and above the pelvis on both sides of the torso. 

Here is another male anatomy proportion to check. 

The distance from the pubic bone to the line of breast nipples is the same as from this line to the top of the head. 

The outer outline of the thigh goes downward to the knee joint. 

The inner outline of the thigh is defined by the tailor’s muscle as well as by the adductor group of muscles, which are located in the inner upper half of the thigh. 

The calf muscles define the width of the lower leg. 

The biceps brachii muscle occupies the front portion of the upper arm. 

The lower arm is in the pronation position, which means the extensor muscles, which originate on the outer lower edge of the upper arm, are rotated together with the radius around the elbow bone. 

The David’s right hand is oversized. The sculptor did it on purpose as this statue is meant to be located high above on the cathedral roof. 

The bent arm gives us a good view on the triangular shape of the elbow. This shape is defined by two bony projections at the lower edge of the upper arm bone and the top edge of the elbow bone…

To find out more about male anatomy and body proportions, enroll in the Anatomy Master Class.

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