Art Flashes | Hektoen International

Gerrit Dou and his Netherlandish quacks

      Gerrit Dou (1613-1675), one of Rembrandt’s first students, was born thirteen years before his contemporary Jan Steen and died four years before him. Both painted similar works of contrasting light and dark, both lived most of their lives in Leiden, and both included in their work several scenes illustrating healthcare in the […]

The tooth pullers

    Gerrit Van Honthorst, 1628, Louvre, Paris. Jan Victors, ca. 1650 M.d Bildenden Kunst, Leipzig. Jan Steen, ca. 1650 check, Mauritshuis, The Hague.  Gerrit Dou, 1630-35, Louvre, Paris.   Having a tooth pulled in the days before the advent of modern anesthesia and dental techniques could turn out to be a pretty ghastly experience. […]

Jan Steen: quack doctors visit lovesick maidens

Like his contemporary Molière, the Dutchman Jan Steen makes fun of quack doctors, often shown in ridiculous costumes visiting young love-sick or pregnant women. In the Lovesick Maiden (Fig.1, Metropolitan Museum) the diagnosis is suggested by the painting of a Cupid above the door, the bed on the right, and the bed-warmer on the lower […]

Pietro Longhi: appearances are deceiving

Sally Metzler Chicago, Illinois, United States   Pietro Longhi’s depictions of Venetian society delight the eye by his detailed renderings of elegant satin dresses, demure shoes, and fashionable wigs. But appearances can be deceiving.  Though he lavishes attention on the attractive façade of his subjects, he is equally concerned with their actions.  He invites the […]

The Terme Boxer’s trauma

Seth Judson Los Angeles, California, United States   Terme Boxer or Boxer at Rest Palazzo Massimo alle Terme The cavernous eyes of the Terme Boxer look at me with the same anguish and exhaustion that has intrigued archaeologists and art historians since the boxer was first unearthed in Rome over a century ago. Experts date […]

Huetation

Sooo-z Mastropietro Westport, CT     Inspiration can appear unexpectedly just like progress born from sickness. ‘Huetation’, inspired by Rebecca Skloot’s book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” and film documentary “The Way of All Flesh” took awe from an 8 second visual of mutating cancer cells, displayed with a sequence of 3 images in textiles. […]

Portraits of vision: Sir Joshua Reynolds

Sally Metzler Chicago, Illinois, United States   Fig 1. Joshua Reynolds, Self Portrait, 1788, Royal Collection Trust, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The subject of this portrait wears wiry, diminutive round spectacles, lending a distinctly pedantic flair.  Yet gazing out is none other than Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723 -1792), one of the greatest English painters in […]

Winslow Homer, the eye-surgeon

Water color painting of Winslow Homer entitled Adirondacks Guide ( 1892). Inset: Detail of the guide’s right eye showing the blue iris, black pupil and the corneal blade mark by the artist.   Although the 19th Century American painter Winslow Homer has been hailed as a lover of the land because of his striking watercolors, […]

The plague of ergotism and the grace of God

 Wilson F. Engel Gilbert, Arizona, USA   Detail of a patient suffering from advanced ergotism in the Isenheim Altarpiece Matthias Grünewald’s Isenheim Altarpiece Musée d’Unterlinden, France   Perhaps the best known and least forgettable of all Renaissance art works depicting the graphic effects of disease is Matthias Grünewald’s Isenheim Altarpiece (1506-1515), now in the Musée d’Unterlinden, Colmar.1 […]

Dr. Arrieta and Francisco Goya

  Self Portrait with Dr. Arrieta Francisco de Goya, 1820 William W. Stringer Los Angeles, California, United States   Francisco Goya (1746-1828) was a deaf Spanish painter who almost died of a severe, unknown illness in 1819.1 He painted this self-portrait in 1820 to illustrate the kind and attentive care provided by Dr. Arrieta.2 In […]