Art Essays | Hektoen International

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 Terniers 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. About2000 pictures have been attributed to him, including replicas and copies, and […]

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 […]

The perfection of illness

Zohaib Ahmad Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States (Spring 2013) It is often but little appreciated that the creative and the consummate can be conceived in the throes of disease. The process of being ill can change people, not only through the mental stress, but also through the neurological changes inherent in […]

Color, image and symbol: memory recalling the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait through drawings

Yvonne Pepin-Wakefield (Summer 2009) Introduction In 2004, I was hired by Kuwait University to teach at its College for Women in the Middle East state of Kuwait. In addition to teaching studio arts, I grappled with the idea of how a shared traumatic event might affect the development of Kuwaiti youth who had experienced the […]

The model for Albrecht Dürer’s Praying Hands

William R. Albury and George M. Weisz University of New England, New South Wales, Australia (Winter 2011)   Figure 1 Praying hands, c. 1508, Albrecht Dürer Brush drawing on blue primed paper Albertina Museum Vienna, Austria The image of Praying Hands by Albrecht Dürer, painted on an altarpiece in the sixteenth century and destroyed by fire in […]

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and medicine: A triumph over infirmity

William R. Albury and George M. Weisz University of New England, New South Wales, Australia (Summer 2013) Fig. 1 – Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec The “Toulouse-Lautrec Syndrome” Renowned 19th century French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s most obvious association with medicine is through his bone disease. The condition from which he probably suffered was first described in […]

Lord Howard Florey and the use of visual art in medicine

Vincent Cracolici, MD University of Chicago Medical Center, Chicago, IL (Summer 2016)   Untitled work by Lord Howard Florey Art and Medicine: skills for creative problem solving Despite similar training, all physicians are not equally skilled in recognizing and solving clinical problems. Those who have been remarkably innovative in their specialty often share similar characteristics […]

Cruel to be kind

Dr. Thom Ferrier United Kingdom (Winter 2012) When does “eliciting a response using pain” turn into sadism? While working in the Emergency Department in the ’90s, I would sometimes perceive an apparent vindictiveness in the actions of colleagues—and occasionally recognized within myself—born of tiredness, frustration, or a sense of being manipulated by a patient. At […]

Life is a game: visual metaphors in Brian Fies’s Mom’s Cancer

Sathyaraj Venkatesan Anu Mary Peter National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirapalli, India (Winter 2015) Figure 1. Fies, Brian. 2006. Mom’s Cancer. New York: Abrams Image. Motivated by a “desire to give meaning to the lives lived in uncertainty”1 and illustrate the experience of enduring an illness, the creators of comics often resort to visual metaphors that […]