Tag Archives: blindness

Albert C. Barnes, MD: the physician who spun silver into gold

Sylvia R. Karasu New York, New York, United States   Argyrol, the compound developed by Dr. Albert C. Barnes and Dr. Hermann Hille to treat ophthalmia neonatorum, a conjunctivitis that led to blindness in newborns then caused by gram-negative gonococcus bacteria. Infection was contracted from mothers during vaginal delivery. Credit: Argyrol bottle, c. 1902-1907, Barnes […]

Did Macbeth have syphilis?

Eleanor J. Molloy Dublin, Ireland   Gerard De Lairesse suffered from congenital syphilis. Image: Portrait of Gerard de Lairesse. Rembrandt van Rijn. 1665–67. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Public Domain. Introduction Syphilis was endemic in Elizabethan England and it was estimated that nearly 20% of the population of London were infected.1 The signs and symptoms […]

An abominable habit

Michael Crossland London, United Kingdom   Onania, by John Marten. 1730. Eighteenth Century Collections Online (accessed April 4, 2019). Link Jay is a large man in his twenties with a plume of unruly red hair, giving him the air of an oversized rooster. He is a great storyteller with a contagious laugh, and I always […]

Edgar Degas’ light sensitivity and its effects on his art

Zeynel Karcioglu Virginia, USA   Author and wife in front of The Alexander and Bucephalus at The National Gallery in Washington DC, contrasting the gleaming white of Alexander’s chiton with their dark clothing. The celebrated nineteenth century French painter Hilaire-Germain Edgar Degas was born in Paris in 1834 to a Creole mother from New Orleans […]

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

Sarah Bahr Indianapolis, Indiana, USA   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 titled […]

Waiting for the darkness to lift

Sheila Solomon Klass New York, New York, United States   Amsler chart with macular degeneration From early childhood I wanted to be a writer and tell stories. But Mama and Papa, impoverished and struggling to survive at the end of the Great Depression, scoffed at such ideas and insisted I should be enrolled in a […]