Tag Archives: Suffering

Bone headdress

Susan Sample Salt Lake City, Utah, United States After artwork created by a person with cancer   Cow’s Skull with Calico Roses. Painting by Georgia O’Keeffe, 1931. Art Institute of Chicago. No known restrictions on publication. Why tens of bones linked with silver chain into an earthly veil? I gaze at other entries: hand-stitched quilts […]

Traumatic experience and creativity: René Magritte

Mirjana Stojkovic-Ivkovic Belgrade, Serbia   The Lovers. René Magritte, 1928. Fair use. A painter’s creativity often results from artistic inspiration, but it can also be a manifestation of fear, pain, and suffering. René Magritte (1898–1967), a Belgian painter and great figure in modern art, expressed his thoughts and his feelings on the canvas. His unique […]

De Profundis: Oscar Wilde’s narrative of mental anguish

Anthony G. Chesebro Stony Brook, New York, United States Oscar Wilde. Photo by Napoleon Sarony, 1882. Via Wikimedia. Public domain.   “There is only one season, the season of sorrow.”1  Imprisoned for a relationship that was criminalized by the government of his time, in 1897 Oscar Wilde had spent two years in jail. Finally granted […]

On suffering and its depiction in William Carlos Williams’s “The Yellow Flower”

Negin Rezaei Tehran, Iran   Passport photograph of William Carlos Williams. Courtesy of the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University. Circa 1920. Via Wikimedia Eric Cassell observed that physical pain and suffering are two distinct experiences and that pain is only one of the infinite number of sources that may cause suffering in […]

Gav’s Frida Kahlo: Heroine of Pain

Jimin Mathew Bangalore, India Lucy Samuel Puducherry, India   Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3 In Frida Kahlo: Heroine of Pain (2017), Gavin Aung Than (Gav), an Australian artist, uses comics to capture the lingering pain and excruciating maladies of the famous Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and her evolution towards artistic excellence. This article analyzes […]

The names of things

Joseph Hodapp Cupertino, California, USA   The author’s grandparents. Photo by Laura Hodapp. It’s a gray-sky, late-October afternoon. I just got home from work when I feel my phone buzz in my pocket. The caller ID provides a brief preface: Mom. “Hey Mom, what’s up?” “Hey Hun, I wanted to call you right away… my […]

“Let the people see what I’ve seen”: beauty, suffering, and learning to see

John Eberly Raleigh, North Carolina, United States   John Brewer Eberly, Jr. “Study on seeing, 2007.” Personal collection. Charles Stegeman, professor of fine arts at Haverford College, once took up the task of teaching medical students how to draw. He did so because he observed that students who learned to draw well went on to […]

The anthropology of chronic pain

Charles Paccione Oslo, Norway   Image of Dharmakīrtisāgara, one of the Eight Medicine Buddhas, from the upper book cover of The Sūtra of Great Liberation. Courtesy of U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Health & Human Services, [2010]. The global burden of chronic pain is large and growing. About 25% of patients […]

“Mental Cases” by Wilfred Owen: The suffering of soldiers in World War I

Alice MacNeill Oxford, United Kingdom   Wilfred Owen plate from Poems (1920). Internet Archive via Wikimedia. Public domain. Who are these? Why sit they here in twilight? Wherefore rock they, purgatorial shadows, Drooping tongues from jaws that slob their relish, Baring teeth that leer like skulls’ tongues wicked? Stroke on stroke of pain, — but […]

The Isenheim Altarpiece and ‘homeopathic’ hospital art

Katrina Genuis Canada   Figure 1: Isenheim Altarpiece, First View. Matthias Grünewald, 1512-1516. Unterlindin Museum, Colmar, France. Source. Art found in hospitals generally has the aim of comforting the viewer. Presumably, ill patients or exhausted on-call physicians who amble past pastoral countryside scenes or watercolour flowers are reminded that despite their current difficultly there is […]