Art Essays | Hektoen International

A proliferation of monsters: art of the weird as expressions of anxiety in Britain and Japan

Steve Wheeler Greenwich, London, England (Winter 2018)   Fig 1. William Blake The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Plate 20; 1790 © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge The human fascination with fear of the unknown has been documented in art and literature across civilization for centuries. In every culture, this has manifested itself in the form of […]

Letters from the asylum

Nicholas Kang Auckland, New Zealand (Winter 2018)   Asylum of Saint-Paul-de-Mausol, Provence France After cutting off his ear, Vincent van Gogh spent a year in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence confined to a mental asylum. Despite several major relapses during his stay, he continued to work prolifically, completing more than 140 paintings including masterpieces such as Starry Night, Irises, […]

The beauty of nature and the nature of beauty

Michael Baum London, England (Winter 2018)   Fig. 1 The Death of Procris, A Satyr mourning over a Nymph, Piero di Cosimo, (c. 1495)   Do not all charms fly / At the mere touch of cold philosophy? / There was an awful rainbow once in heaven: / We know her woof, her texture; she is given […]

The art of consumption – TB and John Lavery

Emily Boyle Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast Trust, Belfast, Northern Ireland   1. “The sick child” 2. “Camille Monet sur son Lit de Mort” 3. “An Irish girl” Tuberculosis, (TB) is often regarded as a historical disease – in the 1880’s it caused a quarter of all deaths in the UK. Mortality rates from TB fell […]

Manga as medical critique

Adil Menon Cleveland, Ohio (Summer 2017)   Osama Tezuka 1951 “Godfather of Manga” Stark lines are often drawn in American and European literature between graphic novels, which cater primarily to adults, and comics, which despite their broad appeal are perceived as being meant for younger audiences.  No such dichotomy exists within the Japanese medium of […]

Death by Dysentery? Artist Frank Russell Wadsworth in Madrid

Sally Metzler Chicago, IL, United States (Summer 2017)   Frank Russell Wadsworth (1874-1905) A River Lavadero, 1905, Oil on canvas, Union League Club Chicago Though he basked in the Spanish sun, the summer warmth would be his downfall, indeed his early death.  Artist Frank Russell Wadsworth of Chicago gravitated towards the vivid colors and picturesque […]

Portraiture in the head and neck cancer clinic: A patient’s perspective

Mark Gilbert Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada James E. Van Arsdall Metropolitan Community College, Omaha, NE (Spring 2017)   Figure 1. Jim, 2014, Charcoal on Paper, University of Nebraska Medical Center. I first met Scottish artist Mark Gilbert in 2013 as a participant in his  Ph.D. dissertation study, “The Experience of Portraiture in Clinical Settings” [EPICS]. I […]

Alcohol and the art of David Teniers Jr.

Mirjana Stojkovic – Ivkovic Belgrade, Serbia (Spring 2017)   Fig 1. Smokers and drinkers, Museo del Prado, Madrid (this picture makes fun of human frailties, stupidity and vices.) David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690) was one of the most prolific and versatile Flemish artists. About 2000 pictures have been attributed to him, including replicas and copies, […]

The Isenheim Altarpiece and ‘homeopathic’ hospital art

Katrina Genuis University of British Columbia, Canada (Winter 2017)   Figure 1: Isenheim Altarpiece, First View. Matthias Grünewald, 1512-1516. Unterlindin Museum, Colmar, France. Source. Art found in hospitals generally has the aim of comforting the viewer. Presumably, ill patients or exhausted on-call physicians who amble past pastoral countryside scenes or watercolour flowers are reminded that […]

Finding a Voice

Ruth Margalit University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska, United States Christopher Leet Siena/Francis House, Omaha, Nebraska, United States (Spring 2012)   Erin Reets, a resident of the Siena/Francis House (SFH) homeless shelter, came in to discuss a medical problem with a doctor at the shelter clinic. Having addressed the medical problem, the doctor sat […]