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August 10, 2025 - August 17, 2025

Human Anatomy Intensive - ICA 2025 Renaissance Series

Human Anatomy Intensive - ICA 2025 Renaissance Series

Workshop Dates:
August 10, 2025 - August 17, 2025
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About the Workshop

The study of human anatomy in Italy is a long and distinguished tradition. The extraordinary anatomical theatres in medical schools at the University of Padua and the University of Bologna bear witness to this history and were among the first of their kind in existence. Even today, we marvel at the accuracy and lifelike intensity of the 17 th c. wax anatomical models in the Specola Museum in Florence, which were made to allow medical students to observe venous, muscular, and skeletal systems without a cadaver. In this regard, the study of anatomy in Italy has profoundly impacted not only our understanding of the human body, but also the study of medicine in the western world.

Surprisingly, this history also reveals much about the significance of the role of visual art in furthering science and medicine. In his brilliant series of lectures at the Art Students League in New York, artist, anatomist, and scholar, Robert Beverly Hale once said: “science had actually sprung from art, that it had developed in those great periods when artists had looked at nature very closely and carefully, and had tried to record exactly what they saw. That, what we explained, was what scientists have been doing ever since.”

To support Hale’s observation one need look no further than Leonardo’s anatomical studies. These drawings are incredible not only for their accuracy and beauty as works of art, but also as a highly accurate analysis of function, of what anatomist George Bridgeman referred to as “the human machine.” Leonardo is perhaps unequalled in his analysis of the form of the human body as a manifestation of the interrelationship of functioning systems. It is known, for example that Leonardo once injected the heart of an ox with hot wax, then made a glass model of the casting. He then pumped the model with water to analyze the circulation of fluids in the human heart. Incredibly, Leonardo’s conclusions were not fully corroborated by cardiologists until the 1980’s.

The objective of our Human Anatomy intensive is to follow in this tradition. Thus, we will not only identify anatomical structures of the human body, but we will also analyze the function of those structures and their effect on its outward form. Throughout the workshop, we will reference functional systems in understanding their manifestation in surface anatomy of the figure.

Our focus will be on the skeletal and muscular systems, with some analysis of the major arteries of the venous system. We will work from a variety of sources, including real human skeletons as well as drawing from our collection of anatomical models and plaster casts. Our medium in the course will be various drawing media in large-format sketchbooks as a means of note taking for the course.

Our approach will be in the form of lectures and hands on drawing focusing first on the skeletal system. We will draw from real human skeletons as well as anatomical models. We will explore one area of the body at a time, first in analyzing the skeletal structure of the torso. Afterward, we will move on to the head, arms, and legs, as well as hands, and feet. Participants will produce life-sized drawings with charcoal on heavy paper as well as drawings in sketchbooks of details such as joint articulations.

Afterward, the course will focus on the muscular system first through lecture and note-taking then by drawing from anatomical models, plaster casts, and the live model, in the same order. However, we will in exploring the muscular system we will utilize tracing paper and colored pencil, in order to add layers of muscles over our previous skeletal drawings.

In addition to the intensive schedule of daily drawing and lecture, we will make an excursion to the famed Specola Museum in Florence where we will draw from their collection of 16 th to 18th c. wax anatomical sculptures. The incredibly lifelike flayed figures are shockingly lifelike - at once factual and at the same time, powerfully expressive. Here, the wax models will provide an overview of the skeletal and muscular systems as well as an introduction to the venous system.


Throughout the workshop, participants will be housed in the remarkably well-preserved Umbrian hill town of Monte Castello di Vibio. Your workshop package is all-inclusive, providing welcome and departure services and airport transfer from the Rome Fiumicino, Leonardo Da Vinci Airport (FCO). Aboard our comfortable private bus, single occupancy accommodations with shared bath (a wide range of upgrades with private bath are available), 3 meals per day Monday-Thursday, Prosecco brunch and dinner on Saturday and Sunday (no meals are served on Friday, our excursion day. Your workshop includes one excursion per week and many additional options are available on weekends for an additional fee. Of course, 24/7 access to facilities and 24/7 bi-lingual support are provided.

About the Instructor

ICA Staff

At ICA, we are fortunate to have a staff of individuals who are not only delightful people, but also remarkable artists and scholars, chefs, performers, and craftspeople in their own practice. All of these individuals, in addition to their contribution to ICA, have years of experience in their disciplines under their belts - in fact, collectively totaled, a couple of centuries of experience in all!

Levity aside, this talent, skill, and training often goes unrecognized and, after years of requests, we have decided to offer a series of workshop intensives taught by ISA staff in context of their area of disciplinary specialization. In the visual arts and art history – particularly considering our location - it should come as no surprise the common area of staff expertise is in Italian Renaissance Studies. Thus, accompanied by a wide-range of visiting lecturers, these workshops will focus on the following areas of studio practice:

Anatomy for the Artist
Cast Drawing and Modelling
Perspective and Optics
Paint and Pigments

These courses (also available for college-credit) are ideal for those who are limited in time or budget and are looking for a brief sojourn in Italy, accompanied by intensive instruction. For Italians and expats who happen to reside in our neighborhood these courses are ideal in that they provide the highest quality instruction, locally, and at a competitive cost. (For our neighbors, please note that a special, day-participant price, that includes instruction, lunch, and one excursion.)

All supplies are included.

On the other hand, for those having a little more time in Italy, as well as a more expansive budget, we suggest taking more than one of these interrelated courses

Included Amenities

Click on the links below for detailed information about our included amenities.
View Amenities Page »
  • Airport transfer from and to the Leonardo da Vinci Rome/Fiumicino Airport (FCO) aboard our private bus (on scheduled dates only). Bus departs the airport promptly at 12PM.
  • Airport welcome service and assistance with baggage
  • 24/7 bi-lingual support with manager on site at all times
  • All ground transport aboard private buses or our ICA van, unless otherwise specified. Licensed and insured professional driver and ICA guide accompany all excursions. Orientation at each destination is provided as is departure coordination (guide service is available upon request — unless specified — for an additional fee)
  • Complimentary bottle of local wine provided in rooms on arrival day and complimentary locally made soap
  • Village orientation and complimentary drinks provided on arrival day
  • Private access to our 5-storey tower at our Palazzo Persiane (on sign-up basis) for spectacular morning and evening views
  • Access to our art materials shop (during posted hours)
  • Thorough orientation lecture and maps provided the evening before departure
  • Return transport to the Rome/Fiumicino Airport (departs 5:30AM) with rest stop
  • Departure service/airport assistance at airport
  • Unless otherwise specified, single occupancy accommodation is provided in rooms with a view of the Tiber Valley that includes sink and vanity. Rooms are with shared bath on each level (3 rooms per bath) in our 14th century convent building, The Asilo. Apartments, rooms with private bath and AC, double rooms, group or villa accommodations are available for couples, business associates/ friends, or groups for an additional fee
  • Linens and towels provided
  • Weekly housekeeping service with change of towels and linens
  • Free washing machine access
  • Good Wi-Fi connection and access to our library and film collection
  • 3 chef-catered, gourmet meals per day (buffet breakfast, 3-course lunch, 4-course dinner) — with wine at lunch and dinner (table wine provided at lunch and dinner. An excellent wine list is offered at additional cost), while in Monte Castello
  • Group dining service is as follows, with breakfast and lunch served in our dining room, etc, with dinner (weather permitting) served on our private terrace overlooking the Tiber Valley
  • Lunch and dinner are plated as follows: pasta course, main course, vegetable, fruit/salad, dessert
  • When requested at registration, vegetarian, vegan, and special dietary options are provided
  • After dinner drinks on our terrace overlooking the Tiber valley
  • Dining service is as follows: Breakfast: 8:00 AM; Lunch: 1:00PM; Dinner: 8:00 PM. No meals are served on Fridays (excursion day) unless otherwise specified
  • On Saturday and Sunday, a full buffet brunch with fresh pastry and Prosecco is served at 11:00 AM
  • On Saturday, homemade, wood-fired pizza is served at 7:00 PM (except on departure days, when a special farewell dinner is served)
  • Sunday dinner with antipasti is served at 7:00 PM
  • Farewell dinner on the evening prior to departure
  • 24/7 access to our primary building and library is provided, including access to workspaces, studios, and ceramics facility
  • Special access to certain cultural and art collections is available upon request
  • FOR VISUAL ARTISTS: private, or semi-private secure and monitored studio space is provided (24/7 access)
  • FOR WRITERS: private workspace is provided (24/7 access)
  • FOR GROUPS: Group workspace is provided (24/7 access)
  • Free access to lectures and events at the Teatro Concordia
  • An end of the session exhibition with reception that includes hors d'oeuvres and Prosecco in our gallery. Posters are prepared to promote the event with copies provided to all participants
  • 1 excursion per week is included (unless otherwise specified in the itinerary) aboard our private bus. Additional trips can of course be scheduled and given our central location. (Day trips are possible to as far north as Siena or Florence and as far south as Rome.)
  • Advanced reservations and ticket purchases for groups and individuals
  • Concierge services provided upon request at an hourly rate
  • Restaurant reservations (provided under Concierge services)
  • Car rental
  • Critique series with visiting visual artists
  • Artist materials workshops
  • Drawing and painting sessions from the figure
  • Cooking classes
  • Cheesemaking workshop
  • Pizza-making workshop
  • Kids cooking classes
  • Wine appreciation and Sommelier Courses
  • Wine and olive oil tastings
  • Vineyard tours
  • Truffle hunting
  • Ballroom dance classes
  • Weekend excursions to flea markets and natural sites
  • Shopping excursions to cashmere and leather outlets, to Deruta famous for fine painted traditional ceramics, and antique stores
  • Overnight excursions to the sea and day-trips to Rome beaches
  • Hot air balloon tours
  • Hot springs excursions
  • Lake Trasimeno tours
  • Umbria abandoned castle and fortress tour
  • Sustainable farming tour 
  • Babysitting services
  • Soccer, archery, and horseback riding camps for kids
  • Motorized mountain bike rentals
  • Electric car rental 
  • Golf-cart tours of Rome and Florence
  • Hiking/naturalist guides to national/regional parks - mountain hiking available
  • Fishing/Hunting Excursions

Payment Options

  • Payment in full (€500 non-refundable deposit is included. No refunds will be issued within 60 days prior to the start of the workshop. See refund policy for more details).
  • Non-refundable €500 deposit (Balance due must be paid a minimum of 30 days prior to workshop).
  • Balance payment (after €500 deposit).

Required Forms

All ICA participants; whether coming independently, with a group or through a college / university, must provide the following completed forms and information to at least 2 weeks prior to attending their program. 
Emergency Contact & Medical Information »Liability Waiver »
Proof of Insurance / Travel Insurance
Itinerary and Passport
For detailed information and to download the required forms, please visit our Guides and Forms page.


Day 1: Sunday, August 10, 2025

  • Arrive Rome/Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport (FCO); Bus Departs FCO at 12:00 PM
  • Arrival at Monte Castello di Vibio appx.: 2:30 PM Lunch/ Orientation/ Overview/ Rest/ Tour of village/ Dinner
  • Following dinner, there will be a brief overview of the history of anatomical drawing

Day 2: Monday, August 11, 2025

  • 8:30 – 9:30 Breakfast
  • 9:30 – 1:00 Morning Session:
    • Lecture: Spinal column/Rib cage/Pelvis
    • Drawing: Life-sized planar analysis of rib cage and pelvis - Front
  • 1:00 – 2:00 Lunch
  • 2:00 – 7:00 Afternoon session:
    • Drawing: Life-sized planar analysis of rib cage and pelvis - Back Analytic drawings of joint articulations
  • 8:00 – 9:00 Dinner
  • 9:00 – 10:30 Video: Hale on Anatomy

Day 3: Tuesday, August 12, 2025

  • 8:30 – 9:30 Breakfast
  • 9:30 – 1:00 Morning Session:
    • Lecture: Skull: basic anatomical structures and planes
    • Drawing: Life-sized planar analysis of skull and Cervical vertebrae: ¾ View
  • 1:00 – 2:00 Lunch
  • 2:00 – 7:00 Afternoon session:
    • Lecture: skeletal structure of arms and legs
    • Drawing: Life-sized drawing of the general skeletal structure of arms and legs: front and back (1 each) accompanied by analytic sketch book drawings of joint articulations in skeletal structure of arms and legs (without hands and feet)
  • 8:00 – 9:00 Dinner
  • 9:00 – 10:30 Video: Hale on Anatomy

Day 4: Wednesday, August 13, 2025

  • 8:30 – 9:30 Breakfast
  • 9:30 – 1:00 Morning Session:
    • Lecture: Muscles of the torso: Front
    • Drawing: Application of major muscle groups to skeletal drawing of torso: front
  • 1:00 – 2:00 Lunch
  • 2:00 – 7:00 Afternoon session:
    • Lecture: Muscles of the torso: Back
    • Drawing: Application of major muscle groups to skeletal drawing of torso: back
  • 8:00 – 9:00 Dinner
  • 9:00 – 10:30 Video: Hale on Anatomy

Day 5: Thursday, August 14, 2025

  • 8:30 – 9:30 Breakfast
  • 9:30 – 1:00 Morning Session:
    • Lecture: Muscles of the head and neck
    • Drawing: Muscles of the head and neck over skeletal drawing
  • 1:00 – 2:00 Lunch
  • 2:00 – 7:00 Afternoon session:
    • Lecture: Muscles of the arm and leg: Front and Back
    • Drawing: Muscles of the arm and leg over skeletal drawing
  • 8:00 – 9:00 Dinner
  • 9:00 – 10:30 Lecture: Anatomy in Renaissance Italy: TBA

Day 6: Friday, August 15, 2025

  • Excursion: Florence: Drawing at the Specola Museum: Venous system
  • In the Specola Museum we will draw directly from the wax sculptures on display. After lunch, we will visit the Academia Museum, in order to view the incredible David and the Bound Slaves, by Michelangelo

Day 7: Saturday, August 16, 2025

  • Morning: Facial Features
  • 11:00 AM Brunch
  • Afternoon: Muscles and planes of the hands and feet
  • 8:00 PM Farewell Dinner

Day 8: Sunday, August 17, 2025

  • Rome/Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport (FCO); Bus Departs Monte Castello at 5:30 AM
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