Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Category: Art Flashes

  • The physician’s guide to The Garden of Earthly Delights

    Nora Fisher-CampbellPortland, Oregon, United States I have returned repeatedly to The Garden of Earthly Delights as a strange and fascinating representation of the human experience. The triptych, painted in the late fifteenth to early sixteenth century by Hieronymus Bosch, depicts a fever-dream vision of Eden, Earth, and the Last Judgement.1 On the left panel, God…

  • Painter Milene Pavlović Barili (1909–1945)

    Mirjana Stojkovic-IvkovicBelgrade, Serbia Milena Pavlović Barili was one of the most avant-garde and interesting personalities of the world art scene in the first half of the twentieth century. Suffering was inextricably linked to her life. Through suffering, pain, and dreams colored with melancholy, she experienced her own existence and created in solitude. Loneliness, isolation, and…

  • Auguste Renoir and his arthritis

    Clearing in the Woods. Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1865, oil on canvas. Detroit Institute of Arts. Renowned for his colorful portraits and landscapes, Auguste Renoir (1841–1919) was one of the greatest French Impressionists. He painted some 4,000 compositions, many still admired all over the world. But during his last twenty years, he suffered from a debilitating illness…

  • 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 CokićZajecar, Serbia 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 and the teeth. The most severe form…

  • The secret medical school in the Warsaw Ghetto

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden In September 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland. The invaders quickly started to repress the Jews of Poland and confiscate their property and businesses. In November 1940, the Jews of Warsaw were confined to a walled-in area of about three-and-one-half square kilometers. About 400,000 to 500,000 people, the second largest Jewish community in…

  • 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…