Art in medical training: a medical perspective

Smith, Helen (2012) Art in medical training: a medical perspective. Engage, 30. pp. 105-107.

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Art and medicine come together in many forms. In our students’ textbooks the medical illustrator fuses an understanding of the scientific topic with artistic techniques to enhance explanations and understanding of the clinical condition. Then there is depiction of medical topics in works of art: images may include patients’ suffering and illness, the physician’s role in society and the important doctor-patient relationship. Art can illustrate changing therapeutic options and attitudes to the medical profession over time. A further approach to art and medicine is the analysis of the effect of a medical condition on a professional artist’s creativity. There are plentiful examples of the influence of physical illnesses, disability, addiction, dementia and mental illness on the images created. These images can strengthen the health professional’s understanding of pathology and impact of disease on individuals. For me, one extremely powerful example is the series of self-portraits painted by Brian Charnley in 1991 as he reduced the medication controlling his schizophrenia. His increasingly disrupted thought processes are captured in his depiction of himself as his mental health declines. The series terminates at number 17 with his suicide.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Primary Care and Public Health
Subjects: R Medicine
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Jessica Stockdale
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2012 11:31
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 21:05

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