Artists face many logistical problems when depicting scenes they cannot physically recreate. These academicians had an unusual approach to solving such an issue...
"This gruesome figure was cast from the corpse of a murderer taken straight from the gallows to be nailed to a cross and flayed in order to settle an artistic debate. This was done at the request of three Royal Academicians - sculptor Thomas Banks and painters Benjamin West and Richard Cosway - to prove their belief that most depictions of the Crucifixion were anatomically incorrect."
Read the full article from the Royal Academy Collection: http://www.racollection.org.uk/ixbin/indexplus?record=ART13544