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This article has two aims. Firstly, to augment the published information currently available on the teaching and learning of anatomy at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris including an Appendix of the curriculum c. 1880 under Dr Mathias-Marie Duval (1844–1907) and, secondly, to analyse some of the artistic anatomy’s roles and meanings in pictorial representations of the human body. The main foci for visual analysis are a Salon medal-winning oil painting of 1888 by François Sall, (1839–99), The Anatomy Class at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts (Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales), depicting Duval’s class, and the photographs of human morphology by Dr Paul Richer (1849–1933); Duval and Richer professed anatomy at the Ecole during the period 1873 to 1933. Positing a dynamic interaction between the professions of art, medicine and anthropology in the production of anatomy teaching and anatomy’s visual canons, analysis concentrates on decoding the constitution of historically specific social relationships of class and gender, as inscribed across representations of the anatomical body.