Journal of Regional Section of Serbian Medical Association in Zajecar

Year 2015     Vol 40     No 2
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      UDK 7.049:61
COBISS.SR-ID 216880908

ISSN 0350-2899. - Vol. 40, No. 2 (2015), pp. 57-70

Original paper

A work of art - expression of disease symptoms
Umetničko delo – ekspresija simptoma bolesti

Kornelia Đaković Švajcer



  Download in pdf format   Summary:
A work of art is most often a result of an artist’s inspiration, a reflection of feelings, but often a deep insight into his own personality or events and activities around. The analysis of a work of art may reveal not only a state of mind at the moment of creation, but also a deeper background, which may be a consequence of a disease. A classic example is Van Gogh's self-portrait without the ear occurring after self-injury as a result of his mental illness. In a series of paintings and prints entitled "The Scream" Edvard Munch clearly evokes a state of panic that used to grip him occasionally, which he even verbally depicted. A great painting poet of the first half of the twentieth century, Marc Chagall, in several of his paintings, composed during the artist’s hard period, varies the theme of a double-face with one usually dark side, and the other - light, indicating a bipolar disorder. However, a picture may not only be a reflection of the spirit of the artist, but it can also indicate an organic disease. It is known that Claude Monet complained of losing sight; in fact he suffered from cataracts. He perpetuated the development of this disease by a large number of paintings and drawings of water lilies in his Japanese garden, made over the period of more than 20 years. The last of these pictures, when he could see almost nothing, seem a bit abstract, full of bright colours, so he probably wanted to offset the greyness which he was surrounded by. William Utermohlen, an American painter, who suffered from Alzheimer's disease, showed the development of the diseases in a series of self-portraits. Frida Kahlo, a brave Mexican painter, had a serious car accident when she was eighteen, which left her paralyzed for life. Severe injuries she sustained in the accident are anatomically correctly immortalized in several of her paintings. Spiritual and physical conditions of an artist as a consequence of a disease can be found in other art forms too. In his novel The Idiot, Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky made a very striking description of an epileptic aura (a disease from which the author himself suffered). Franz Kafka in his novel The Trial gave a perfect description of the feeling of paranoia, and his story The Metamorphosis presented a hallucinatory state of the same basic disease.
Key words: anxiety, panic disorder, bipolar disorder, cataracts, epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease

Napomena: kompletan tekst rada na srpskom jeziku
Note: full text in Serbian
      Corresponding Address:
Kornelia Đaković Švajcer,
Ivana Gorana Kovačića 33A,
21208 Sremska Kamenica, Srbija.
Paper received: 8.6.2014
Paper accepted: 9.7.2014
Paper Internet issues: 21.8.2015
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Journal of Regional section of Serbian medical association in Zajecar
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