Art Essays | Hektoen International

Art therapy: a historical perspective

Mirjana Stojkovic-Ivkovic Belgrade, Serbia   Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec – Portrait de Suzanne Valadon (1885)                       Art therapy is a form of  psychotherapy that uses the creation of art to help resolve psychopathological conflicts. It helps people to identify psychological weaknesses and see […]

Partners in healing: an early renaissance painting depicting the partnership of the divine with the physicians Cosmas and Damian

Susan Brunn Puett & J. David Puett Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States     St. Cosmas and St. Damian by Matteo di Pacino (painted 1370-1375). Located in the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. Although the original location of the painting is not known, it was probably commissioned by the Guild of […]

Anatomy and pathology in Zurbaran’s Jewish and Christian figures

Stephen Martin Durham, England, United Kingdom     Figure 1. Saint Francis in Meditation. 1650’s. Francisco de Zurbarán.© The National Gallery, London Francisco de Zurbarán (1598–1664) was painter to King Phillip IV of Spain and Portugal and a contemporary of Velázquez. He was the leading religious artist of the Spanish counter-reformation.1 A highly-skilled pioneer of […]

The painter and the potter: voices in color and texture

Florence Gelo Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States   Figure 1. “Armand’s Pot II” (1981), Jimmy Lueders (1927 – 1994), oil on canvas, (Woodmere Art Museum: gift of Arnold Kramer, 1991 Drawn to this painting of a vase at the edge of a table, I pause and think, “Don’t we all live on the edges of life, on […]

The Anatomy of Michelangelo (1475-1564)

JMS Pearce East Yorks, England   Michelangelo’s anatomy drawings Michelangelo Buonarroti was an exception to the rule that the qualities of many brilliant artists and composers are realized and extolled only after death. He was recognized by contemporaries as a genius, a “Hero of the High Renaissance,” the only artist of whom it was claimed […]

Medical deafness or the madness of war: Goya’s motivation for creating the Black Paintings

Sarah Bahr Indianapolis, Indiana, USA   Figure 1. Goya, Francisco. Saturn Devouring His Son. 1820-1823. Prado National Museum. The Spanish painter Francisco Goya darkened the plaster walls of his rural Madrid farmhouse with leering witches, a gaggle of grimacing hags, and a man with bulging eyes devouring a human form. The latter painting, posthumously titled […]

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

Steve Wheeler Greenwich, London, England   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 creatures as […]

Letters from the asylum

Nicholas Kang Auckland, New Zealand   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, and Almond […]

The beauty of nature and the nature of beauty

Michael Baum London, England   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 / In […]

The art of consumption – TB and John Lavery

Emily Boyle Belfast, Northern Ireland   1. “The sick child” 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 by 17% between 2005 and 2015,1 but it remains an important health concern.  Worldwide it is still the second […]