Iowa Art Students Spend Class Sculpting Butter With Live Cow Model

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AMES, IA—Learning to connect with their subjects on a deeper level, Iowa State University art students reportedly spent class Tuesday sculpting butter with a live cow model. “I wasn’t completely comfortable with the idea at first, but now I have a greater understanding of a cow’s anatomy and the way its body parts actually sit,” said student Gina Anichini, 23, diligently carving her 50 pounds of butter in the sprawled-out cow’s likeness, as her teacher reminded the class to sculpt the udder as it actually appeared here, not how they have seen it in their head or in media. “As soon as they removed the robe from over the model and it struck its first pose, standing on all fours, I immediately saw the value in an exercise like this—not only is my work more realistic, but I have a new appreciation for the intricacies of a normal cow’s figure. The nude cow body is usually so sexualized in our culture, but when you really look at it up close, you start to appreciate it more for its dramatic curves and high-contrast shadows, and the beauty inherent to each unique land mammal. Here, the scene is alive, activated, as human artist and bovine muse feed off one another’s energy and smells. There’s a reason Da Vinci preferred to sketch from live cattle as well.” At press time, the cow moved into its dynamic next pose, which included munching on one of the student’s sketchbooks.

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