Muscular Anatomy of the Face

There are quite a few anatomy resources on the web, but not a lot that combine clear illustrations with pictures of the muscles in action. With the help of a patient model and a fine illustrator, I hope this resource helps clarify how the face can make so many expressions.

You will also find a link to my Craniometric Landmarks web app which is a part of my online forensic sculpture class.


It's called the mentalis because it emanates from the mental eminence on the mandible. This muscle flattens the chin and pushes the middle of the lower lip upwards, and the outer edges downwards. The chin becomes dimpled when this muscle acts. Cleft chins are a result of a cleft in the mandible, not the action or formation of this muscle. The young man in the images is also contracting his buccinator, leading to the dimples at the corner of his mouth as well.

Anatomical Drawing by Daniel Maidman. Courtesy of the artist.
© 2019, all rights reserved.