Art Flashes - Hektoen International

Interpreting René Magritte’s The Rape

Mirjana Stojkovic-Ivkovic Belgrade, Serbia   The Rape. Oil painting by René Magritte, 1934. Menil Collection, Houston, TX, via Wikiart. Fair use. When exhibited by René Magritte in Brussels in 1930, The Rape was covered with a curtain so as not to cause a scandal. It depicts a woman’s face which, instead of eyes, nose, and […]

Farewell, dear pictures that I have loved so well

For nearly two decades Cardinal Jules Mazarin was the de facto ruler of France and the most powerful person in Europe. Born in Italy in 1602, he worked as a Papal diplomat but offered his services to Cardinal Richelieu and moved to Paris in 1640. When Richelieu died in 1642, he acted as the head […]

Picasso and medicine: From early paintings to a syndrome

Michael Yafi Houston, Texas, United States   Pablo Picasso in 1962. Photo via Wikimedia. Pablo Ruiz Picasso (1881–1973) was known for his love of the good life. Reportedly, his last words were “Drink to me!” But early in his life, Picasso witnessed sick and dying friends and relatives in his hometown of Malaga, Spain, and […]

Daumier’s doctors

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   “Le médecin : Pourquoi, diable! mes malades s’en vont-ils donc tous?”. Caricature by Daumier. National Library of Medicine. No known copyright restrictions. “Comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.” – Reinhold Niebuhr   Honoré Daumier (1808–1879) was a “fundamentally discontented” French social critic, painter, sculptor, and printmaker. He produced over […]

Habsburg dynasty and progenia

Bojana Cokić Zajecar, Serbia   Figure 1. The Habsburg dynasty Oscar Wilde (1854–1900, Irish poet) once said that “LIFE IMITATES ART. However, much more often, ART IS THE ONE THAT IMITATES LIFE.”1,2 In PROGENIA (mandibular prognathism) there is a poor relationship between the upper and lower teeth, upper and lower jaws, or between the jaw […]

The secret medical school in the Warsaw Ghetto

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Poland, Warsaw Ghetto. Passers-by next to a Jewish child in rags lying on the sidewalk (sleeping, sick or dying?). 1941. German Federal Archives. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0 DE. In September 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland. The invaders quickly started to repress the Jews of Poland and confiscate their property […]

The trouble with the belly button

Tonse N. K. Raju Gaithersburg, Maryland, United States   It is a simple dimple in the mid-abdomen. Yet for medieval artists, it caused mighty headaches while painting portraits of Adam and Eve. Painting the dimple as a natural anatomic feature could be construed as sacrilegious, implying that Adam and Eve were connected by umbilical cords […]

The Girl with a Pearl Earring—A vanitas?

James Lindesay Leicester, United Kingdom   Girl with a Pearl Earring. Johannes Vermeer. circa 1665. Mauritshuis. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons. It is a truism that you only have one opportunity to see a picture for the first time. However, in our image-saturated age, by the time you get to see a famous painting in […]

Battling poverty, injustice, ignorance and fear, and despair

Tonse N. K. Raju Gaithersburg, Maryland, United States   Figure 1: Don Quixote de la Mancha and Sancho Panza (1982), by Maurice D. Pearlman, MD (1915-1985), University of Illinois, Class of 1938. Donated in his memory by his daughter, Martha Pearlman. Assemblage approximately 7’ X 11’. This picture was taken when the statue was on […]

Erich Heckel: in a lunatic asylum

  Erich Heckel (1883–1970) was one of the founding members of Die Brücke (“The Bridge”), formed in Dresden in 1905 as a bohemian group of artists in rebellion against the older, established norms. In this painting, he depicts four inmates confined to a mental institution for reasons not explained. The squalid and disheveled man in […]