Dissection Lab at Guy’s Campus – the Anatomy Course 

The smell of formaldehyde is one which is hard to forget, this chemical creates the feeling of suffocation. We were in a room with 30/40 uncontained cadavers which unsurprisingly meant that it was the artists who were phased by them. As time passed our unease disappeared as we began to associate them as sculptures in their own right. Fortunately for the artists, this course came at the end of the medical academic year meaning these bodies had been involved in multiple dissections already. The state of the human bodies had been changed to the extent that they almost became impersonal and objectified. This unique experience gave us an insight into the medical profession and what they can be subjected to.

We were provided with the opportunity to handle the organs which was unsettling at first. During the second session we became more comfortable and felt more confident in drawing sections of the cadavers. We saw the effects of death on the human body where: some of the nails had kept growing; discolouration started to occur in the nail beds and the skin had started to possess a quasi-leathery quality.

Learning the different tendons in the hand, from real life models, became crystal clear as the information provided by our tutor then became easy to digest and retain. Being able to lift and touch the different layers meant we could fully understand the human body to greater enhance our drawing skills.

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