The Complete Bridgman

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The Complete Bridgman

This project is divided into five parts:

The Complete Bridgman Part 1

The Complete Bridgman Part 2

The Complete Bridgman Part 3

The Complete Bridgman Part 4

The Complete Bridgman Part 5

Link to Illustrations on Picasa



For more than thirty years thousands of art students crowded into George Bridgman’s classes at the Art Students’ League in New York to learn at first hand the method of drawing from life which was his personal contribution to art education and which in his own lifetime had become famous. Many of the best known names in contemporary painting and sculpture and commercial art were enrolled in those classes.

Bridgman’s vivid and articulate personality brought lively interest to the study of anatomy. His beautiful drawings of musculature and bone structure have provided a truly new literature on the subject. These were anatomical drawings made not for the medical student or the doctor but specifically for the artist. How the body moves, bends, how its parts coordinate, how the hands clutch, pull, or push, are among the countless bodily movements he illustrated and analyzed.

Great artists have, in the past, illustrated the phases of anatomy that related to one or another portion of the human body. In the new “complete bridgman” it is clear that all of the constructive anatomy of the human figure is gathered into one volume.

Bridgman invented a terminology which graphically describes the twisting and turning of the human body. The term “Wedging” likewise is his own; it describes how one group of muscles integrates with another. By simplifying forms and giving them increased definition, he makes his particular method an easy one to remember. In a sense these drawings of the human figure are peopled with a special kind of man, essentially Bridgman’s own creation. Like the great master of the Renaissance, Michelangelo, (whom Bridgman closely studied) he does not personalize or individualize. But his immense knowledge of structure is put to work. In this book one learns to foreshorten the forms and to articulate the limbs in a direct comprehensible manner because the reasons for change of form and shape are diagrammatic-ally and dramatically explained. Muscles actually change in shape as they react. How they move the structure by contraction and how they appear from various points of view are explained with countless other facts in precise fashion.

George Bridgman’s life was devoted to making clear these complex movements of human anatomy so that artist, art student and teacher may find an inexhaustible mine of information that touches every phase of their study.

The complete bridgman is meant to be used as well as read. Nowhere can be found a more complete analysis of the hand, for instance, than in these pages. Over two hundred drawings of the hand with its enormous variety of movement and position are shown. And there are explanations, as well, of its muscles at every plane.

There are innumerable drawings both of structure and movement integrated with the text and a complete study of folds and draperies as they relate to the human form.

In this book is the heart of Bridgman’s system of constructive anatomy, his life drawing and his work on the structure of head and features. The entire work of his long lifetime in art instruction and practice is included here.

It was necessary up to the present to acquire a separate book on each phase of Bridgman’s art instruction. In the new complete bridgman is presented for the first time a comprehensive volume that includes all the specialized art instruction in a form that can be readily consulted and is all-inclusive.

Howard Simon

This is the story of the blocked human form where the bending, twisting or turning of volume gives the sensation of movement held together by rhythm. The different stages are arranged in their sequence from “How to Draw the Figure” to the “Balance of Light and Shade.” Its purpose is to awaken the sense of research and analysis of the structure hidden beneath. It is hoped that the ideas conveyed in the drawing and text of this book may enable the reader to carry on to independent and better ideas.