Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

My art teacher used a word when describing a sculpture of a human without his skin (exposing muscle beneath). What was that word?

share|improve this question
2  
It was probably flayed –  FumbleFingers Nov 9 '12 at 22:58
    
...but in a medical/anatomical teaching context they're usually called muscular figures –  FumbleFingers Nov 9 '12 at 23:13
1  
Isn't it just 'anatomical model'? –  Edwin Ashworth Nov 9 '12 at 23:27
3  
I wonder why this question has be down-voted twice. –  Shashank Sawant Nov 10 '12 at 5:27
1  
Good question. I have no idea what the four close-voters have been smoking. –  coleopterist Nov 10 '12 at 6:11
show 5 more comments

closed as not constructive by J.R., MετάEd, tchrist, Carlo_R., Kris Nov 10 '12 at 9:20

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I finally found it. The word you're looking for is ecorche.

The Wikipedia entry says:

An écorché (French pronunciation: [ekɔʁʃe]) is a figure drawn, painted, or sculpted showing the muscles of the body without skin. Renaissance architect and theorist, 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.

This Wise Geek entry says:

An ecorche or “flayed figure” is a painted, drawn, or sculpted human figure depicted with the skin stripped away, exposing the underlying musculature. Medical texts may use ecorches for illustration so that students can clearly visualize the structures they are studying, but ecorches are most commonly used as references by artists. In some cases, they are also works of fine art in and of themselves, although they can be a bit macabre.

The ecorche appears to date to around the 1400s, when several artists including Leonardo da Vinci started making such figures. Taboos against dissection often made it difficult to access human bodies, whether one was an artist wanting to create more accurate work or a medical student who wanted to learn about the body. da Vinci, along with many other artists, felt that it was important to understand the underlying architecture of the human body when depicting it in artwork, and ecorches assisted artists with this task.

share|improve this answer
    
Macabre is right. See Damien Hirst's statue of St Bartholomew (who was martyred by flaying) in St Bartholomew's Church, Smithfield. –  Andrew Leach Nov 10 '12 at 8:20
    
Not sure why this became so controversial, but I'm the asker and I just wanted to say thanks to all for your help. THANKS JLG. –  Geoffre14 Nov 12 '12 at 17:26
    
PS I am willing to rephrase the question to make it more appropriate. Sorry, new to the forum. –  Geoffre14 Nov 12 '12 at 17:26
add comment

It was a statue of a flensed human.

Also see: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/flense

share|improve this answer
    
Also, WayfaringStranger, I'd give you a check-mark too if I could. I think technically you're also right and ecorche translates from french to flay / flense. –  Geoffre14 Nov 12 '12 at 18:01
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.