Human Anatomy Art is a creative expression of the outward manifestation of the body’s structure and function as all its parts work together in human endeavors.
Humans do basic things that all animals do. They eat, sleep, excrete, reproduce, grow, move, protect themselves, communicate, and age. In order to do this, anatomy and physiology have to work in near perfect coordination. Appreciation of the nanosecond to nanosecond, minute to minute and hour to hour activities and adaptations is often forgotten. The complexity of basic biological events is simply miraculous, and highlighting these features is a focus of Art in Biology (AIB). In disease, a small member of the big team may fall short, and the effect on the whole system can be devastating. A tiny clot in a coronary artery can cause a myocardial infarction (heart attack) and can ultimately cause death.
Human endeavors expand beyond daily living to multiple other levels. The unique ability to enable work, speech, high level thought, conversation, invention, morality, creativity, conversation, and prayer, arises from, and depends on, the orderly collaboration of anatomy and physiology.
Work requiring manual skill is one such pursuit. The shoemaker, electrician, bricklayer, tailor, cook, and neurosurgeon need trained minds, integrating with the trained nerves and muscles, working at unimaginable levels of neuromuscular complexity, to execute their skill. Cortical Homunculus (“small man”) is a diagram with ill-proportioned anatomy, draped over the sensory or motor cortex of the brain. The size of the body part correlates to the extent of neural involvement required for their function. The mouth and hands of Homunculus are disproportionately large, inferring that these structures have excessively voluminous assignment of nerves and muscles to facilitate their complex function.
Much gratitude is owed to the hand – a simply marvelous appendage. It is made of flesh but is responsible for the evolution of the brain, and therefore of humanity. It grabs, grasps, feeds, gesticulates, speaks, expresses state of the mind through body language, applauds, fights and comforts. The power of the hand is without bounds.
Professional athletes require near perfect integration of brain and brawn to execute complex and finely tuned movement. The brain needs to rapidly anticipate, sense, and react to competing actions. Brawn includes muscle, ligament, and tendon. Muscles simply contract and relax. In so doing they can flex extend, abduct, adduct, supinate, pronate, and rotate. They require the tendons and ligament to attach them to stabilizing and supportive bone. The special talents of the brain in such an athlete include a superior ability to integrate the physical actions but also provide supratentorial contribution such as emotional confidence. Innate and inborn talents need to be combined with practice that reinforces muscular movement in the cerebellum, which is responsible for muscular memory and balance. Talent in athletics may take the form of agile movement in karate, boxing, or wrestling, hand eye coordination required to hit a ball in cricket, baseball, golf or tennis, the ability to dribble a ball in soccer, facility with a jump, summersault, or turn, combined with balance, poise, and strength needed in gymnastics or skiing.
The artistic endeavors of the body, such as dance and figure skating, require athletic precision, combined with artistic nuances and artistic abstraction, often with outward expression of the soul.
Anatomy as studied in the medical and paramedical sciences can be bland when seen in isolation. When placed together within the context of the evolution of humanity and human achievement, integration with body mind and soul it becomes a rich source and inspiration for artistic expression.