Medicine and art


Published by the Royal Society of Medicine Press in association with the Royal College of Physicians in 2002

By Alan EH Emery and Marcia LH Emery

This intriguing book has evolved from a series of articles written and researched by Alan Emery about art and medicine in Clinical Medicine, the journal of the Royal College of Physicians of London.

The relationship between medicine and art has always been a fertile source of discussion and debate. This is an international selection of artworks, tracing both the history of art and the development of medicine from the Ancient Greeks to the present day, illustrating changing perceptions and applications of medicine, through varied styles and artistic media. Each work of art is accompanied by a short essay describing the history of the artist and the subject of the artwork.

Rare and lesser known works of art

  • Depictions of Imhotep from Ancient Egypt
  • Images of Hippocrates shown in Ancient Greek artifacts and the medieval treatise De regimine acutorum
  • A Persian physician from the cover of Avicenna's Canon of Medicine (Al-Qanum) (1632)
  • A precious Tibetan medical painting from the nineteenth century
  • Portrayals of African, Chinese and Native American medicine

Works by well known artists

  • Marriage a la Mode: The Inspection (1743) by William Hogarth
  • Self portrait with Dr Arrieta (1820) by Francisco Goya
  • Death in the Sick Room (1893) by Edvard Munch
  • The Hospital at Arles (1889) by Vincent van Gogh
  • Science and Charity (1897) by Pablo Picasso
  • Ancoats Hospital Outpatients' Hall (1952) by LS Lowry
  • The Compassion of the Intensive Care Sister (1989) by Sir Roy Calne

The full colour illustrations and detailed appendix of further artworks depicting specific medical conditions make this book a treasure trove of information for all who share the author's love of art, history and medicine.

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