Museum of Medicine
School of Medicine, University of Crete

Areas of Interest / Medicine, arts & letters


Looking back at Homer's poetry and Thomas Mann's writing, observing the paintings of Rembrandt and Munch, watching Chekhov's plays and finally with the very recent comics in Medicine (graphic medicine), we find that disease and medicine are fundamental elements of Literature and Arts. Man’s perpetual struggle to prevail over finite and time is a point of intersection between Medicine and Art or Literature defining the relationship between them. Τhe fact that several physicians have been depicted in history as subjects of Art (in Literature or iconography) is rather secondary.

Anna Karenina’s postpartum fever in Tolstoy's play, the plague pandemic in Camus’ work, or Munch's scalpel-painted "sick child" are leading examples of a great wealth of testimonies about the experience of disease and human suffering by the writer or visual artist. On the other hand, the anatomical perfection in Michelangelo's sculptures or the always topical exploration of the anatomical basis of Leonardo Da Vinci's undefined Smile of Gioconda, demonstrate the unique relevance of the visual arts to the Anatomy that is finally glorified in the anatomical depiction of the human hand in the drawings of the greatest Homo Universalis.

Medicine inherently possesses the characteristics of the history of Science, where the new overshadowing the old, is at the same time doomed to the same fate reserved for it by the Aristotelian teleology of man "who is defined by nature to seek knowledge". On the contrary, in Arts and Letters, the work is independent of time and becomes classical through its self-value. Despite this substantial difference, when Medicine meets the Visual or Literary Arts, seems to be grafted by their qualities and medical knowledge, even outdated, expands in time and changes into an element of the history of civilization.

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School of Medicine
University of Crete
2208 ΤΚ 71003
Voutes, Heraklion Crete, GR