Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Vincent Van Gogh

  • From silks to science: The history of hematoxylin and eosin staining

    Vidhi Naik Aberdeen, Scotland   A slice of logwood, notably depicting its deeply colored heartwood, atop different fabrics stained by logwood dye. Image obtained and published with permission from Botanical Colors. Introduction Hematoxylin and eosin, dyes used to stain tissue samples, collectively known as H&E, form the benchmark for histological stains. These dyes possess a…

  • The Portrait of Doctor Gachet

    Nicholas KangAuckland, New Zealand On a spring evening in New York, a portrait is unveiled before a crowded auction room. It pictures an older man wearing a dark blue coat with luminous green buttons. His elbow rests on a red table beside two yellow books. In front of him is a glass with faded purple…

  • The Potato Eaters: Brushstrokes of sickness and sustenance

    Jeanne DsouzaManipal, India One wants to be an honest man, one is so, one works as hard as a slave but still one cannot make both ends meet . . . One is afraid of making friends, one is afraid of moving, like one of the old lepers . . .– Vincent Van Gogh, Autumn…

  • Absinthe: The green fairy

    Nicolás Roberto Robles Badajoz, Spain Figure 1. Green Muse. Albert Maignan. 1895. Via Wikimedia Commons “After the first glass of absinthe you see things as you wish they were. After the second you see them as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in…

  • Mental illness in art

    JMS PearceHull, England It is often said that creative art is linked to eccentricity, sometimes bordering on madness. Examples abound of great musicians, writers, and artists who at some time in their lives were deranged and often committed to institutions for mental illness. Some ended their lives in suicide. To what extent is art inspired…

  • Food colors: a history of food in art and literature

    Sayantu Basu Kolkata, West Bengal, India   The Colors of Feast: Still Life with Fruits, Nuts and Cheese  Floris van Dijck, Frans Hals Museum, Harleem, Netherlands “Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.” This is how Voltaire upholds the significance…

  • Letters from the asylum

    Nicholas KangAuckland, New Zealand 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 Blossom. Three months after leaving, he was…

  • Hawthorne’s The Birthmark: a failure to find a perfect future in an imperfect present

    Sylvia Karasu New York City, New York, United States   In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Birthmark, 1 Aylmer, “a man of science” leaves the somber, factory-like atmosphere of his laboratory to marry the beautiful Georgiana.  Aylmer “had devoted himself, however, too unreservedly to scientific studies ever to be weaned from them by any secondary passion,” and…

  • The peach tree

    Roy Smythe Temple, Texas, United States   Souvenir de mauve, 1888 Vincent van Gogh Oil on canvas 73.0 x 59.5 cm In the hot Texas summer of my 77th year, my skin turned a little yella’, and I lost some weight. Doc Butler, who I’d been seein’ for ‘bout 30 years now, told me to…