RIT Professor follows in tradition of Netter, ‘The Michelangelo of Medicine’

Work of medical illustrator James Perkins shown in ‘School of Netter’ exhibit

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A. Sue Weisler

RIT Professor Jim Perkins is one of the leading illustrators of medical textbooks. His name is on more than 20 books in the Netter collection of medical artwork.

In the world of medical illustration, the work of Rochester Institute of Technology professor James Perkins is connected to the mastery of Dr. Frank Netter, a medical doctor and an artist whom The New York Times dubbed “The Michelangelo of Medicine.”

Six decades of Netter’s drawings of the human anatomy have taught generations of medical students and inspired illustrators like Perkins, professor and graduate director of medical illustration, who holds positions in the RIT College of Health Sciences and Technology and College of Imaging Arts and Sciences. He is among a small group of artists who contributes to the Netter collection of medical art known for its accuracy and beauty.

“It’s an honor and privilege to be associated with the Netter collection of medical artwork,” said Perkins, who earned his MFA in medical illustration from RIT in 1992. “Dr. Netter has been widely hailed as the greatest medical illustrator of the 20th century.”

The New York University Langone Medical Center celebrated the 25th anniversary of Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy, and the release of a new edition, with an exhibit showcasing artists the NYU alumnus inspired. Examples of Perkins’ work hung in the exhibit, “School of Netter: ‘The Michelangelo’ of Medicine and His Legacy,” throughout March and April.

“There have been many exhibits of Dr. Netter’s work, but this is the first to feature the other artists who have contributed to the Netter collection over the past few decades,” he said.

Perkins has worked on the Netter collection for more than 13 years and has contributed to more than 20 books bearing the Netter name. He also serves as an artistic and anatomy consultant for Netter’s 3D Interactive Anatomy atlas.