Tag Archives: Art Flashes

Los Caprichos

De que mal morira (Of what ill will he die?) This is engraving number 40 from the Los Caprichos series by Francisco de Goya, published in 1799 and showing a donkey as a doctor attending a dying man in his bed. The doctor wears a watch to count the patient’s pulse but not a stethoscope because […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

Francisco de Goya: a portrait of illness

Trang Ngoc Diem Vu Rochester, Minnesota, United States Self-Portrait with Dr. Arrieta, 1820 Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes Minneapolis Institute of Arts The Ethel Morrison Van Derlip Fund Francisco de Goya’s Self-Portrait with Dr. Arrieta is a Romantic painting illustrating one of Goya’s most severe bouts of illness. The inscription beneath the scene reads, […]

Gertrude Abercrombie: surrealist predilection and pancreatic affliction

Sally Metzler Chicago, Illinois, United States   Letter from Karl, c. 1940, Gertrude Abercrombie (1909-1977) Collection of the Union League Club of Chicago Chronic pancreatitis, longstanding inflammation of the pancreas, is most commonly caused by an excessive intake of alcohol.[i] This was the case of Gertrude Abercrombie, who painted this cryptic, pseudo-surrealistic painting, Letter to Karl. […]