Art exhibit displays students’ knowledge of human anatomy

Jesse Wilson's figure drawing
Figure drawings like this piece by Jesse Wilson, D.O.’18, are the fruits of 14 weeks of intense drawing instruction as part of a DMU elective.

Artwork from six first-year DMU students is on display in the DMU Library, showcasing their mastery of human anatomy. Evan Beacom, Ryan Mooney, Christian Ryser, Sukhvir Singh, Michael Wadle and Jesse Wilson spent 14 weeks in the Des Moines Art Center studio, studying surface anatomy and learning charcoal drawing as part of the spring elective, “Introduction to Figure Drawing.” Their final charcoal drawings are part of an art exhibit that runs through Tuesday, May 26.

Offered through the Department of Behavioral Medicine, Medical Humanities and Bioethics, “Introduction to Figure Drawing” builds on the students’ knowledge of the internal structure of the human body and challenges them to reproduce the external anatomy of the body. Students drew the human body from live models, learning to see structure and proportions from all angles and different lighting.

“While it may seem unusual to offer an art course to medical students, the habit of observation is clearly crucial to the successful practice of medicine,” says Gary Hoff, D.O., associate professor and accomplished artist. “Courses such as this one have provided evidence from a number of investigations demonstrating that student skills in physical diagnosis are significantly enhanced by the experience of close, guided observation.”

The majority of the students had no formal drawing instruction previously, but one look at their drawings will have you believing otherwise.


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