This transdisciplinary course examines the historical relationship of art and medicine and recognizes the amazing similarities between visual culture and medicine. How does art both reflect and affect medical practice and vis-a-versa? We will be looking at works from cave paintings and prehistoric pregnancies to CAT scans including representations of disability, magic and religion, disease and wellness, injuries, neurology and dermatology, orthopedics and surgery, maternity and obstetrics, oncology, HIV/AIDS, chronic illness, mental health, cures and death and other practices related to the interface of art and medicine. In seeing these connections, we can identify, for example, how the observation and articulated analysis of an abstract painting requires much of the same skill set for the critic/historian as for the physician making a verbal diagnosis through the careful examination of a blood smear or skin condition. Thus the seminar will study the history of the images of medicine as well as the tools of the verbal and written interpretation of the visual. The hope is that the examination of the mutual nature of these transdisciplinary dynamics will produce a greater sense of empathy and understanding of both artistic and medical practices. Open to all students, but art majors and premedical and disabilities studies students are especially encouraged to consider this new seminar offering.
Satisfies the Visual and Performing Arts requirement.