The Heart

-The Heart-
-Matthew T. Ross-

24 by 18 limited edition signed gallery canvas print 1 of 5 Sold
24 by 18 limited edition signed gallery canvas print 2 of 5 $648

Of all of our viscera, the heart receives the most praise and attention from artists, musicians, and authors. This admiration began as far back as Aristotle, who called it “the most important organ of the body”. He thought the brain was merely there to prevent the heart from over-heating. As our understanding of anatomy has improved, we’ve learned that a lot of the functions early peoples attributed to the heart were really controlled by the brain. Functions such as the control of our emotions, thoughts and reasoning. And so, while the heart may not deserve all of the accolades people bestow on it, it is an amazing piece of biological machinery. The heart keeps energy, heat and oxygen flowing throughout our body. The beat of our hearts is a constant reminder of our continued existence on the earth. The earth spins and our heart beats. There are few things as wonderful as feeling the heartbeat of a loved one, thus connecting you to the direct physicality of their life. Every beat containing the strength and fragility of that life. Even though our hearts will stop beating long before the earth stops spinning, that deep thumping is a reminder that we are cells working and clinging together to hold our shape for as many spins of the earth as they can muster.

 The Heart is a work of digital art created as part of my series on anatomy. The style of the series is meant to change in appearance depending on the viewer's perspective. When standing away from the artwork, the "cells" of the heart blend together creating a cohesive image, but as you approach it the individual curves and circles that make up the heart become apparent. To understand anything, you must zoom in and explore the individual units that coalesce into some greater whole. The cell was discovered in 1665, however it wasn't until 1839 that cell theory stated that all living organisms are made up of individual units.

The heart in the image is made up of about 12,800 individually drawn "cells", while there are an estimated 2 billion muscle cells that make up the actual human heart.

The anatomy is based on Plate 505 of the anatomical illustrations of Henry Vandyke Carter first published in Grays' Anatomy in 1858. The heart as he drew it was perhaps a little too elongated, but for the most part accurate. As I have drawn it, the image would need to be rotated approximately 25 degrees counter-clockwise to represent it's position in the chest cavity.

The colors are sampled from images of the "Orion Nebula" taken by the Hubble telescope. On either side of the mass spectrum lies awe, beauty and terror at the tiny bits that make up ourselves and the grandness of the universe we live in. It is up to the artist as much as it is to the scientist to explore our place among this continuum. As we have explored this continuum it has only grown wider as a result of that exploration, but we have always been the better for it.

Below you will find a video showing a time-lapse of the drawing process:

Image Information:
Number of strokes: ~12,080 strokes make up the heart itself
Image Medium: Vector
Image References: Plate 505 The anatomical illustrations of Henry Vandyke Carter first published in Grays' Anatomy in 1858.
Colors sampled from: Orion Nebula taken by the Hubble Telescope