An écorché is a figure drawn, painted, or sculpted to show the muscles and sometimes bones of the body without skin. Originally used to help artists understand the human body and draw more realistic figures, there are many écorchés that are considered works of art in their own right.
The practice of creating écorchés was popularized by Leonardo da Vinci, who devoted a number of pages in his notebooks to anatomically correct sketches of the muscles and bones of corpses. He was not the first to make sketches of the interiors of humans, but the names of the earliest artists to do so have been lost to history. In modern times the study of écorchés is optional in most art programs, although they remain common enough.
Écorché is French for 'flayed', and was popularized by its use in the French Academies, particularly the École des Beaux-Arts, in the 1800s. While the term écorché is used in both French and English, the term 'flayed figure' is also commonly used in English. It is pronounced \ākȯr-ˈshā\.