Tag Archives: Art Essays

The painter and the potter: voices in color and texture

Florence Gelo Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States   Figure 1. “Armand’s Pot II” (1981), Jimmy Lueders (1927 – 1994), oil on canvas, (Woodmere Art Museum: gift of Arnold Kramer, 1991 Drawn to this painting of a vase at the edge of a table, I pause and think, “Don’t we all live on the edges of life, on […]

The Anatomy of Michelangelo (1475-1564)

JMS Pearce East Yorks, England   Michelangelo’s anatomy drawings Michelangelo Buonarroti was an exception to the rule that the qualities of many brilliant artists and composers are realized and extolled only after death. He was recognized by contemporaries as a genius, a “Hero of the High Renaissance,” the only artist of whom it was claimed […]

Medical deafness or the madness of war: Goya’s motivation for creating the Black Paintings

Sarah Bahr Indianapolis, Indiana, United States   Figure 1. Goya, Francisco. Saturn Devouring His Son. 1820-1823. Prado National Museum. The Spanish painter Francisco Goya darkened the plaster walls of his rural Madrid farmhouse with leering witches, a gaggle of grimacing hags, and a man with bulging eyes devouring a human form. The latter painting, posthumously […]

Surrealist art and the resolution of absurd

Simon Wein Petach Tikvah, Israel   Epigram “There must be a clear preoccupation with death—intimations of mortality . . . Tragic art, romantic art, etc., deals with the knowledge of death.” Mark Rothko, 1958, The Pratt Institute, on the function of art   The Problem Fear of death permeates medical practice despite our best efforts […]

Letters from the asylum

Nicholas Kang Auckland, New Zealand   Asylum of Saint-Paul-de-Mausol, Provence France After cutting off his ear, Vincent van Gogh spent a year in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence confined to a mental asylum. Despite several major relapses during his stay, he continued to work prolifically, completing more than 140 paintings including masterpieces such as Starry Night, Irises, and Almond […]

The beauty of nature and the nature of beauty

Michael Baum London, England   Fig. 1 The Death of Procris, A Satyr mourning over a Nymph, Piero di Cosimo, (c. 1495) Do not all charms fly / At the mere touch of cold philosophy? / There was an awful rainbow once in heaven: / We know her woof, her texture; she is given / In the […]

The art of consumption – TB and John Lavery

Emily Boyle Belfast, Northern Ireland   1. “The sick child” Tuberculosis, (TB) is often regarded as a historical disease—in the 1880’s it caused a quarter of all deaths in the UK. Mortality rates from TB fell by 17% between 2005 and 2015,1 but it remains an important health concern. Worldwide it is still the second most […]

Manga as medical critique

Adil Menon Cleveland, Ohio, United States   Osama Tezuka 1951 “Godfather of Manga” Stark lines are often drawn in American and European literature between graphic novels, which cater primarily to adults, and comics, which despite their broad appeal are perceived as being meant for younger audiences. No such dichotomy exists within the Japanese medium of […]

Death by Dysentery? Artist Frank Russell Wadsworth in Madrid

Sally Metzler Chicago, Illinois, United States   Frank Russell Wadsworth (1874-1905) A River Lavadero, 1905, Oil on canvas, Union League Club Chicago Though he basked in the Spanish sun, the summer warmth would be his downfall, indeed his early death. Artist Frank Russell Wadsworth of Chicago gravitated towards the vivid colors and picturesque river banks […]

Portraiture in the head and neck cancer clinic: A patient’s perspective

Mark Gilbert Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada James E. Van Arsdall Omaha, Nebraska, United States   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 was introduced […]