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How Neurological Disease Can Affect an Artist’s Work
  1. Alan E. H. Emery
  1. Green College, Oxford, UK OX2 6HG



A great deal has been written about the relationship between art and disease. Apart from the depiction of diseases in works of art, a subject often generating considerable debate, there is also the problem of how disease can influence what an artist paints, and particularly how it is painted. This has been much researched with regard to psychiatric conditions (MacGregor 1989; Jamison 1993) and eye disease (Trevor-Roper 1988), as well as to various disabling conditions (Sandblom 1992; Emery 1997). Here, however, I will focus on some neurological conditions that have afflicted various artists and how these affected their work.


Several artists have suffered with migraine including the British artists Sarah Raphael (1960–2001) and J.J. Ignatius Brennan (b. 1949). But the best known example is the Italian surrealist painter Georgio de Chirico (1888–1978) (Fuller & Gale 1988). All three artists depicted the zigzag motifs characteristic of fortification

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