The Virtual Library of Figurative Art.

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A Directory of material on the Web of interest to artists inspired by the human form and for those who are interested in their work.

Updated August 13th, 2014.

'Art' itself is not amenable to any easy definition. The divisions of art pose equal if not greater problems, if not of definition, then at least of drawing clear demarcations between them.

It is usual to divide art into either representational or abstract. The term FIGURATIVE ART has been used as meaning non-abstract, and by eminent authority. (That is as the other half of the dimorphic classification, where 'abstract' portrays, in however altered or distorted a form, things perceived in the visible world.)
Here, on this site, representational art and figurative art are not used synonymously.

These pages cover portraiture, life drawing and all other creations in which the human form (the human 'figure') is the prime feature or inspiration. Animal art, where the animal is non-human, was not an inspiration for this site's creator, but there are obvious commonalities in the representation of animals and people, and thus a small sub-section is devoted to this. (There is an obvious overlap with mythology and mythological chimeras.)

Art is frequently also classified by media (oil, acrylic, watercolour, stained glass, etc.). On these pages generally all categories apply to all media, with the exception that material specifically related to sculpture is indexed separately.

Photography is not included here, except where it can be an aid to other artists.

In summary, these pages are devoted to indexing material related to artistic creation which is inspired by or which seeks to portray, in however altered a form, the human figure or parts of it.
Some links are 'useful' rather than artistic -e.g. anatomy.
There is no intention to provide a catalogue of living artists or of galleries. There are excellent services already in existence. From time-to-time, though, the maintainer of these pages will feature artist(s) that have interested her, lest the technical links become a little too remote from the purpose!

  • Abstract
    At present no links.
    Abstract art is, in principle, such that its subject matter is abstracted from the visible world, but to such a degree that it is viewed without obvious reference to the source. In practice the term also encompasses work with no conscious origin in the real visible world. Whilst this site is devoted to the human figure in art, abstract work is not totally excluded ... though as yet no links are known(!).

  • Allegory
    • "The Iconologia of Cesare Ripa was conceived as a guide to the symbolism in emblem books. It was very influential in the 17th century and went through a number of editions. The text transcribed here by Rawn Clark is an extract taken from a manuscript in the British Library Ms. Add 23195." [text version]
    • Iconologia of Cesare Ripa: a very easy to navigate facsimile edition. But being images slower to load.

  • Anatomy
  • Animal art
    The subject matter of this site is predominantly the human form and the human figure. Links on areas relating to the artistic representation of other species are not though excluded.
  • Art
    This is a bit of a 'catch all' category for things that are not elsewhere!
    The major listing of more general art gateways is under Virtual Library, below.
    Also see Artists and Museums.

  • Artists
    The site is envisaged as providing links to information sources, not particularly as a 'yellow pages' of artists working in this field or as a directory of works. Both these activities are well covered by various databases already on the web. Links are provided to the latter.
  • Body casting
    For casts made from original sculptures (for mass sale, or for educational purposes), see Casts.
    • Association of Lifecasters International - ALI "is an organization of professional and amateur lifecasting artists and sculptors, life casting enthusiasts and life casting material suppliers. The goal of the Association of Lifecasters International is to promote the art of life casting worldwide and to provide a standard and level of professionalism within our field on which the art community can rely."
    • Q&A About the Casting Process. A nicely illustrated explanation of the process. More 'how it is done' than 'how to do' but a good starting point.
    • Virtual Library — Life Casting

  • Body modification
    Whilst body painting (see next entry) is covered here, the more permanent methods of 'body modification' (tattooing, piercing, etc.) are not. The Open Directory project has a fairly extensive section on these, to which the interested user is referred.
  • Body painting, maquillage
    • BodyPainting Links Index - not the easiest of listings to use, but has several dozen links arranged in various categories.

  • Body scanning (3-dimensional)
    • Computer-Aided Sculpture. "Creating Electronic Sculptures directly on a computer, or by scanning with a variety of tools. Links to disciplines that measure the human body."

  • Casts
    For casts made directly from the body see Body casting.
    This category is confined to casts made from existing sculptures. Such casts have been made for mass sale, but traditionally have been much used in the teaching of art (both drawing and sculpture). At best they allow the works of a master to be studied without having to travel to a distant museum or gallery. At worst they save paying a real model.

  • Courses
    See EDUCATION for longer (1 year and plus) or more formal classes.)
  • Education
    See COURSES for shorter or more informal classes.)
    • Graduate School of Figurative Art of the New York Academy of Art.
      Offers full and part-time degree programmes. "... offers the only graduate program in the nation [USA] devoted to the study of art based on the human figure".

  • Erotic art
    Suggestions for links to art sites that are erotic (rather than erotic sites that may be artistic!) are welcomed. There has been no conscious attempt to censor material (indeed the reverse and a 'non-judgmental stance). Material has though been selected on the basis of its value in providing information for the artist or a quality resource to the lover of art. See note.
  • Journals, Newsletters, etc.
    Titles listed here are 'online' publications. Either web-based or more typically distributed by electronic mail.
    • is a free arts news service of World Wide Arts Resources. Issues via email on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of every week.
    • An occasional newsletter produced in association with these pages. It is distributed by e-mail free-of-charge to interested users.

  • Galleries
    At present no links.
  • Law
    • Institute of Art and Law: "An independent research and educational organisation, founded in 1995, that analyses the interface between the world of art and antiquities and that of law." Leicester, UK.
    • International Arbitration: a general site on dispute resolution, especially in relation to international commerce (such as the art trade ...).

  • Life Drawing
    • Figure Drawing Links. An extensive, but unfortunately unannotated, list of links.
    • The Human Figure Webring. A mixed collection of sites devoted to artistic interpretation of the human figure.
    • Modelalisa -- interactive Life Drawing Workshop. The writer has some scepticism about life-drawing from two-dimensional images rather than from "life" itself. It is often though useful and at times essential. It can, obviously, also add to understanding in a way that straight drawing never can (e.g. the work of Muybridge).
      Whatever your own opinions, this site merits a visit. Over fifty poses are presented, each from three vertical angles and at 30 degree intervals on the horizontal (that is 72 images of each pose). The actual pose files are offered for indiviudual sale, but there is at least one free sample file as well as extensive previews of each of the others.
    • The Society of Figurative Artists (Texas, USA). Founded by Michaelis Mentler, “dedicated to providing high level instruction for the beginner, amateur or professional striving to expand their individual creative skills” (with an emphasis on the human form and on artistic anatomy).

  • Lifecasting
    see Body Casting, above.
  • Models
    • (See the link on 'therapeutic aspects' under photography.)

  • Museums
  • Nude
    • Naturist Art “Art with passion for the naturist lifestyle”, includes the Nude Artists' Directory of the Benelux (“Overview of specialists of the nude art” in Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg).
    • (See also, LIFE DRAWING, above.)

  • Photography
    Photography whilst not excluded is not in the general remit of these pages. More artistic uses of photography will be covered.
    • The uses of photography as an aid to a model's re-assessment of their body-image (sometimes, confusingly, called ‘photo-therapy’) has obvious relevance not only to artists and their models, but also more generally as to how the public view the human form.
      Joël Pèlerin, discusses the therapeutic aspects of modeling one's body (in French).

  • Portraits, Portraiture
  • Sculpture
    At present no links.
  • Societies, Associations, etc.
  • Suppliers of artists' materials
    The suppliers listed here are either 'major', or significant because they provide extensive mail order services and/or allow purchasing via the Internet, or are suppliers of more difficult to locate materials. No attempt will be made to list every art shop(!), but suggestions are welcome.
    The site maintainer has no financial connections with any listed company.
    • England
      • Alec Tiranti Ltd.
        Tools, materials and equipment for modelling, carving and sculpture. Predominantly mail order. Produce a useful series of 'Technical Booklets' (for sale) covering common techniques.

  • Virtual Library
    Probably the best portal to information on the web.
    If what you want isn't here and one of the following categories seems more appropriate, then:
  • Who?
    • Who hosts this site?
      This site is hosted by Galabia galerie d'art, a web-based art gallery as well as the on-line window for a real-world gallery and teaching centre based in France between Geneva and Lyon. The gallery's owner is Lisa Micah -see next entry.
    • Who maintains this site?
      This site is maintained by Lisa Micah an artist whose œuvres are studies of womanhood.
      (Text may be by her or by other authors. Opinions expressed are those of the individual commentators and contributors.)

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Footnote 1:
see page 82 of The Thames and Hudson Dictionary of Art Terms, 1984, Edward Lucie-Smith, ISBN 0-500-20222-2.


Footnote 2:
Renditions of the human figure are frequently erotic, some may be blatantly explicit. Neither, nor the subject areas as a whole, are excluded: selection rests though on sites that present information and that are related to art.
Specifically the maintainer should perhaps note that there seem a good number of sites run by (or for) accomplished artists and illustrators producing 'calendar' type illustrations of young women. These (and the subjectivity is acknowledged) are considered more illustrative than 'art'. On the other hand this site will attempt to index material that is innovative or exploratory. It being fully appreciated that much exploratory material does lose its way, nevertheless without all the attempts we would rarely arrive at those flashes of originality that make art what it is.

These pages must be incomplete! Please suggest additions using the online form, or otherwise let us have your feedback on this site and its usefulness.

This site is maintained by Lisa Micah.
The presentation of links is for all subject areas selective. That said with the continuing growth of the web it is a statistical fact that if your own or your favourite site is not listed here it is more likely to be due to this site's maintainer's ignorance rather than purposeful non-selection. Do please suggest new links!
Content, layout and database organisation © 2000 - latest update , Lisa Micah.
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