Skeleton Crew

I was really enjoying Rob Zeller’s anatomy demo last night at the Teaching Studios of Art. I was enjoying it so much that I decided to capture the moment on camera. Okay, so I confess that I exerted very little effort and took the picture with one hand while lying down on the model’s platform because I was too lazy to get my ass up, walk to the other side of the room, take a nice photograph and document the lecture in a respectable way. Hey what do you want from me? I was on a break! 🙂

Yes those are my legs in the way. But it’s actually quite appropriate since the anatomical subject of the night was the sartorius muscle. Longest muscle in the body as it turns out. The sartorius runs across and then down the thigh, like a ribbon, and is responsible for lateral leg rotation, abduction, and knee flexion. If you move your leg in a certain way you can make it pop. But it’s not a muscle that is normally visible on the average person. I can get mine out if I stand, turn one foot out (which rotates the leg), lift the heel and lean into the leg with all my weight.

If you can see Rob behind the easel, you’ll notice that he is lifting his leg to demonstrate sartorius movement.

Rob incorporates books, his own anatomy drawings, the model, and the skeleton, in his lectures which are consistently informative, thorough, and really easy to absorb for a subject that can get confusing at times. I really liked when Rob explained how the sartorius got its name. The Latin sartor, means “tailor”, so the sartorius is sometimes called the “tailor’s muscle” because tailors used to sit in cross-legged positions on the floor to do their tailoring. And you can’t sit cross-legged without the sartorius muscle enabling that lateral rotation. Wikipedia has a few more theories on the origin of the name sartorius.

The sartorius travels an impressive anatomical journey in the human body. It originates in the anterior superior iliac spine (the iliac crest of the pelvis), descends down, while crossing over, the thigh, and then turns into a tendon that inserts at the tibia. Without the sartorius, you couldn’t bend your leg at the knee or laterally rotate your thigh at the hip. When men sit and cross their legs “the guy way” – with the foot of one leg resting on the knee of the other leg – they’re using the sartorius muscle for those movements. Not bad, fellas.

Then came my turn to assist Rob in his demo. Picture time was over. I put my camera away, stood up (finally!) and returned to my art modeling duties, which meant that THIS guy went on break. Ha!

8 thoughts on “Skeleton Crew

  1. That’s so cute, Claudia! The reason that my right hip feels out of wack is probably all the contrapossto I do on that leg. I wish you could explain things to my doctor. Hee. I mean it though. I had to explain contrapossto to her. Take care, girly. 🙂

    • artmodel says:


      I hear that! Pain or discomfort in the hip/pelvis area is the art model’s torment. Yes, those contrappostos are killing us. In fact, I just got home a little while ago from an ALL DAY contrapposto, since 10:00 this morning! 😮

      Thanks for your comments!


  2. Interesting, informative, enjoyable, as always, Claudia!

  3. I agree with Jim – and those pictures are hilarious! Thanks for such a charming post!

  4. alanborky says:

    Armo, (ARtMOdel), this’ll probably sound daft, but you have highly intelligent legs, especially your knees.

    I’ve noticed this with pictures of other parts of your ‘body’, when at times this kind of kaleidoscopic vision of the entire history of Art flashes in the air before me, as if each individual part of you attempts to disgorge and recapitulate everything in Art’s history they’ve ‘seen’ relevant to them.

    Up to now I’d assumed you were the art model world’s equivalent of a martial artist who goes ’round collecting stances and forms from other schools, but your lower limbs suggest otherwise – it might even be a bit of both, but ever since you were a little girl I bet your legs’ve had a mind of their own, possibly getting you into trouble by taking you walkies almost against your will, (as occurs to the young daughter of a friend of mine – in my own 15 year old daughter’s case it’s always been her mouth!).

    Such an idea’ll seem far more feasible if you can credit the possibility, as I do, we’re not really individual animals at all but walking zoos of highly adapted smaller animals containing still smaller animals, all the way down to the molecular if not the subatomic level, each of which has it’s own highly individualistic form of intelligence, the source of what’s usually dismissed as mere ‘mindless’ reflexes; (when our parents and teachers used to tell us to stop fidgeting, what they were really doing was putting a stop to our bodily parts learning to ‘think’ for and express themselves, and the degree to which they succeeded is the degree to which we have little or no ‘reflexes’).

    I float this possibility by you because as one who is clearly body-centric – with particularly intelligent upper and lower leg and knee ‘animals’ – you might find the concept more rewarding to explore than other less bodily orientated types.

    • artmodel says:


      I have received many compliments on my legs, but “intelligent” is definitely a new one! As for them having a mind of their own, you might be on to something. They often lead me inadvertently into the miniskirt section of a department store 😉

      Your theory about body parts being separate, independent “animals” is interesting, and something I’ve never thought about before. I would say that my legs are probably the body part I’ve come closest to “individualizing”. Perhaps this is due to compliments from others and/or that my legs are resisting “aging” far better than the rest of my, um, “parts”. Whatever the reason, my legs do have something going on. Your observation is astute.

      Enjoyed your comments and your hypothesis very much. Thanks!


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