Anatomy, View Of Base Of Skull

Anatomy, View Of Base Of Skull
Signed Print

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Screenprint, 1982
Signed Print Edition of 18

Critical Review

The anatomical sketch is concentrated in the bottom half of the image in View Of Base Of Skull. The base of the skull is drawn in Basquiat’s signature scrawl, and labelled liberally, indicating the medical names of body parts including the malar bone, the foramen magnum and the temporal bone. The specificity of the annotations exists in tension with the spidery, almost-indecipherable handwriting.

This compulsion to annotate his anatomical sketches to such an extent can be read as Basquiat’s attempt to explain its complicated modes of functioning. Having been severely injured in a vehicle accident as a youngster, and having to have significant surgery to resolve his injuries, he was fully conscious of the limits of the vulnerable human form.

More from the series