Medicine and Art

I have always been fascinated by the exploration of the depictions of illness and healing in the famous artworks through human history, that range from Egyptian wall carvings to medieval manuscripts, and from paintings and sculpture by the great masters of the Renaissance such as Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci to twentieth-century artists such as Matisse and Magritte.

Those art masterpieces cover the examination of patients and their various maladies including disabilities and mental illnesses; healing and medical treatments; and the sufferings of patients and their hopes for cures and recovery. Psychological anguish—as represented in The Expulsion of Adam and Eve by Masaccio and Munch's The Scream—is treated along with the physical manifestations of pain.

I always love to play the rules of both an art historian and a practicing physician who can explore the cultural context in which specific artworks were created and the level of technical knowledge available at that time, an approach that makes for a fascinating look at many topics in both medical and artistic worlds.

I have a huge digital library of those masterpieces displaying the fine connection between medicine and art. My library includes also a large number of hard copy books on the related literature and is ever expanding. You can find some of these famous artworks below, and many more in the Medical Philately Facebook page.

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The Gross Clinic, 1875 painting by American artist Thomas Eakins

The Gross Clinic, 1875 painting by American artist Thomas Eakins

Western Medicine, An Illustrated History

Western Medicine, An Illustrated History

The Doctor 1891 by Granger

The Doctor 1891 by Granger

The Cambridge Illustrated History of Medicine

The Cambridge Illustrated History of Medicine

The Art of Medicine, Over 2000 Years of Images

The Art of Medicine, Over 2000 Years of Images

The Agnew Clinic, 1889 - Thomas Eakins

The Agnew Clinic, 1889 - Thomas Eakins

Rembrandt, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, 1632

Rembrandt, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, 1632

Rembrandt , The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Deyman

Rembrandt , The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Deyman

Medicine, A Treasury of Art and Literature

Medicine, A Treasury of Art and Literature

Medicine, Perspectives in History and Art, 2006

Medicine, Perspectives in History and Art, 2006

Confidence of Alexander the Great to the doctor Philip by Henry Semiradsky , 1870

Confidence of Alexander the Great to the doctor Philip by Henry Semiradsky , 1870

Albucasis (Al Zahrawi) blistering a patient in the Hospital at Cordova, 1100 AD

Albucasis (Al Zahrawi) blistering a patient in the Hospital at Cordova, 1100 AD

Doctors, The Illustrated History of Medical Pioneers

Doctors, The Illustrated History of Medical Pioneers

Medicine in Art (A Guide to Imagery)

Medicine in Art (A Guide to Imagery)

Kill or Cure, An Illustrated History of Medicine

Kill or Cure, An Illustrated History of Medicine

First Operation Under Ether Anaesthesia painting, 1846

First Operation Under Ether Anaesthesia painting, 1846

© 2017 by Dr Amir Monir 

The Doctor 1891 by Granger