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.


The Risorius is a thin muscle that draws the corners of the mouth back and outwards. It extends from the Masseter to the outer edge of the Orbicularis oris. It contributes to the widening of the mouth with a smile. In the first image of the young man, you can see he's also smiling nicely with his eyes by contracting the lateral margins of the Orbicularis occuli.

Anatomical Drawing by Daniel Maidman. Courtesy of the artist.
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