BMJ Publishing GroupDoctors Versus Artists: Gustav Klimts "Medicine"Author(s): Maria Bitsori and Emmanouil GalanakisReview...
Through              the artists        eye                            Doctors                              versus        ...
Through                 the artists   eye                          in the river of life, which   was   formed             ...
Through             the artists               eye                                           Both Klimt and Moser          ...
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Bmj klimt medicine

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Klimt & Medicine

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Bmj klimt medicine

  1. 1. BMJ Publishing GroupDoctors Versus Artists: Gustav Klimts "Medicine"Author(s): Maria Bitsori and Emmanouil GalanakisReviewed work(s):Source: BMJ: British Medical Journal, Vol. 325, No. 7378 (Dec. 21 - 28, 2002), pp. 1506-1508Published by: BMJ Publishing GroupStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25453236 .Accessed: 08/11/2011 15:31Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at .http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jspJSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. Digitization of the British Medical Journal and its forerunners (1840-1996) was completed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) in partnership with The Wellcome Trust and the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) in the UK. This content is also freely available on PubMed Central. BMJ Publishing Group is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to BMJ: British Medical Journal.http://www.jstor.org
  2. 2. Through the artists eye Doctors versus artists: Gustav Klimts Medicine Maria Bitsori, Emmanouil Galanakis Was Gustav Klimt the Damien Hirst of his time? The response that greeted some of his paintings certainly made for instant notorietyDepartment of In 1893 Austrias of culture commissioned the ministryPaediatrics, artists Gustav Klimt and Franz Matsch to decorate theUniversity of Crete,PO Box 1393, Great Hall of the University of Vienna.1 The Habsburg Summary pointsHeraklion7l5 00, had entered one empire its final phase, and Vienna, ofGreece In 1893 Gustav Klimt was commissioned to cultural and scientific centres, wasMaria Bitsori Europes flourishing decorate the University of Vienna with The under liberal rule and a of indusspecialist in experiencing periodpaediatrics trial and new ideas that was to become Triumph of Light overDarkness, a series of paintings expansion the universitys facultiesEmmanouil representing known as the era. anGalanakis Ringstrasse Ringstrasse,assistant fnofessor avenue, encircled the old centre of Vienna, imposing Medicine was in 1901, presented scandalously and grand were erected it1 to: buildings along on the powerlessness of the art ofCorrespondence focusingE Galanakis and achievements in healing ignoring prevention?galai iak@ and cure, at a time when Vienna was themed.uoc.gr The artist leading world inmedicine Gustav Klimt was the second of seven children born toBMJ 2002:325:1506-8 a of who had to The paintings were never fixed to the ceiling of family gold engravers immigrated Vienna from Bohemia. In 1876, at the age of 14, he was the universitys great hall, and in 1943 they were admitted with distinction to the moved for protection to a castle, which was Kunstgewerbeschule, the public school of arts and crafts. Gustav, his younger are destroyed. All that remains from Mediane brother Ernst, and their friend Franz Matsch were held drafts and photographs in their teachers, who often recom high regard by mended them for paid work outside the school.* The Klimt died in 1918 during the influenza three artists were soon involved in the ambitious young pandemic the of Ringstrasse project, decorating grand stairway the new Burgtheater from 1888 to 1890. In 1891, after great the of the Kunsthistorisches to Klimts election to the chair of the of decorating lobby ratify history Hofmuseum (the museum of art history), they were painting at the Academy of Fine Arts.3 Although Klimt awarded a state These first works, had received advance and the liberal major prize.1 payments created in a conventional although style and lacking minister of education, Baron Wilhelm von Hartel, was and heralded Klimts versatile detailed studies of the originality inspiration, enthusiastically supportive, talent. The commission for the of the univer commissioned were not until 1898. paintings paintings ready seems of a logical In sity faculty something consequence. 1900, the year in which Sigmund Freud published The Interpretations of Dreams? Klimt exhib ited a version of Philosophy. The members the ceiling of the Great Hall of preliminary Painting of the university and the public had expected a master Vienna University piece in the manner of Raphaels School of Athens. One The theme of the of the universitys Great Hall of the had a scene with the ceiling professors suggested was the of over darkness. It consisted of a of the ages shown and triumph light philosophers together, talking central encircled viewers were confronted with a tow panel by four paintings representing teaching.3 Instead, the faculties. The was conven column of naked set a university concept quite ering embracing figures against tional, similar to others executed for public buildings background of limitless space from which the sleepy 3 Klimt undertook Medi head of a The of the throughout Europe. Philosophy, sphinx emerged.2 single sign cine, and Jurisprudence, and Franz Matsch undertook conscious mind was a female head, Wissen bright Theology and the central panela [knowledge], at the bottom of the pictured Ignoring Meanwhile, Klimts artistic views had started to Klimts virtuoso use of colour and the composition, in a climate of reform that had after the academics accused him of unclear ideas change spread presenting countrys financial crisis of 1873.1 In 1897 he founded through unclear :i forms,(i a controversy that lasted for the Secession movement, a group of months.1 leading young :? artists out of the established artists association.1 The from the German writer Friedrich Schiller quotation The of medicine: doctors that was included in Klimts 1899 painting Nuda conception versus the artist Veritas?"If you cannot please everyone with your deeds and your art, please a few"?announced that pleasing Despite the attacks, Klimt presented Medicine (figure) his clients was not his priority any more.3 He started to at the 10th exhibition of the Secession group in 1901. seem distant and little work. His beloved Medicine resembled with a column of naked produced Philosophy, brother Ernst had to beside which a nude female, developed pericarditis secondary figures young represent a heavy cold and died in 1892; their father had died a ing Life, floated in space, with a newborn infant in few months before. The of education refused front of her feet7 Death was as a skeleton ministry represented 1506 BMJ VOLUME 325 21-28 DECEMBER 2002 bmj.com
  3. 3. Through the artists eye in the river of life, which was formed A fatal outcome placed centrally, the human bodies.1 At the bottom of the the by picture Jurisprudence was exhibited in 1903 and, sharing the dominating figure of Hygieia (see cover) confronted same as Mediane and was the with the Aesculapian snake around her symbolism Philosophy, spectator attacked in the same forceful manner.11 Meanwhile arm, holding the cup of Lethe [oblivion].1 The only Matsch had completed his own paintings, different links between the drifting bodies and Life were from Klimts in both and concept. The ministry of arm arm a style by Lifes extended and the ofprovided educations committee advised that the wholemale nude shown from the back. It was obvious that advisory composition should not be fixed to the ceiling but be the wanted to the of painter emphasise powerlessness exhibited in the new state of the healing arts and made no to the permanendy gallery attempt represent modern art were an The paintings for of medicine in the way that doctors would requested triumph in St Louis, United international exhibition States, in expect3 An editorial in theMedizinische Wochenschrift 1904, but the declined, anxious of the two ministry that the had doctors complained painter ignored reaction of a Klimt the com foreign public.3 resignedmain achievements, and cure.18 At a time prevention that he wished to his work. mission, declaring keepwhen Vienna was the world in medical leading The insisted that the were ministry paintings already research thanks to the pioneering work of doctors the property of the state but had to succumb whensuch as Theodor Billroth (1829-94), Frantisek Klimt threatened the removal staff with a shotgun.2Chvostek (1835-84), and Ludwig T?rck (1810-68),910 Klimt repaid his advance with the support of AugustKlimt medicines field as "a presented fantasmagor?a Lederer, one of his who in return major patrons, of half sunk in instinctual semi dreaming humanity, received Philosophy. In 1911Medicine and Jurisprudence in the flow of fate."1 surrender, passive were bought by Klimts friend and fellow artist, Art critics attacked Klimts work, that the saying Koloman Moser.13 was his intellectual level.3 Viennas mostproject beyond trenchant Karl Krauss, described journalist, scornfullyMediane as a in which the chaotic confusion of painting bodies the situation in a state hosdecrepit symbolises Accusations of were also raised;pital.11 pornography the public was called in, and, although he prosecutordid not to action, the issue reached proceed first time that a cultural debate hadparliament1?theever been raised there. The education minister againdefended Klimts work, but when Klimt was once again elected to a at the Academy in 1901, the professorship refused to the election. He was never government ratify offered a teaching post anywhere again.3The artists defenceKlimts defenders him as a contemporary presentedmisunderstood, artist who was for lonely persecuted his rebellious art, a popular stereotype in the 19th cen " But Klimt was not a rebel.11 He rose to fame in tury.8 the service of Viennese society and enjoyed recogni tion and from the state. Art historians support additionally claimed that Klimt was persecuted for his erotic convictions, he had led a rather although discreet life, unlike most of his famous contemporaries in fin-de-si?cle Vienna.2 Klimt was not in aesthetic and ignorant philo matters. His indicates an sophical Philosophy inspira tion provided by the ideas of composer Richard v? and Friedrich Nietzsche,1 andWagner philosopher reveals awareness of the world ofHygieia symbolicmythology. He had witnessed the deaths of his father and brother, and he had seen his younger sister dying at the age of 5 and his eldest sister and mother gradu ally losing their sanity. Gustav Klimt and Sigmund Freud shared the same and cultural milieu. A city "crisis of liberal has been ego" proposed, comparing the artists intentions to the psychoanalysts approach.1 Both went a crisis, their through personal reforming work and having to face rejection when they exhibited the results of their in the chaotic world Gustav Klimts painting Medicine (1901), which was destroyed in 1945. The photo was taken explorations of instinct at the time and is the only surviving picture of the painting BMJ VOLUME 325 21-28 DECEMBER 2002 bmj.com 1507
  4. 4. Through the artists eye Both Klimt and Moser died in 1918 during the in enlightened fin-de-si?cle Vienna? In other words, influenza Medicine was the would medical faculties now decorate their halls pandemic.14 bought by great ?sterreichische and Jurisprudence Galerie, passed into with Gustav Klimts Medicine? the hands of the Lederer As the Lederers were family.3 of Jewish their entire collection was origin "Aryanised" Contributors: MB had the original idea and investigated the in 1938, and soon after, the three faculty all artistic aspects. EC investigated the artists medical and cultural paintings found their in the ?sterreichische Galerie.3 In milieu. Both authors contributed to the writing and redrafting place the paper and act as guarantors. 1943, after their last exhibition, were moved for they Funding: None to Schloss Immendorf, a casde in Lower protection Competing interests: None declared. Austria, to the north of Vienna and a few kilome just tres from Austrian-Czech border."3 In todays May 1945 the were as paintings destroyed retreating 1 Schorske CE. Fin-de-si?cle Vienna: culture and politics. New York: Vintage, German SS forces set fire to the casde to it fall 1981. prevent l4 2 Fliedl G. Gustav Klimt. Cologne: Benedikt Taschen Verlag, 1998. into enemy hands." All that remains of the paint ing 3 Whitford E Klimt. London: Thames and Hudson, 1990. are the preparatory sketches and of 4 Gay R Freud: a life our times. for New York:W W Norton , 1988. ings photographs 5 Pirchan E. Gustav Klimt. Ein K?nstler aus Wien. Vienna, 1956. poor An oil draft from Medicine quality. composition 6 Koschatzky W, Strobl A. Die Albertina inWien. Salzburg: Residenz Verlag, and a colour of Hygieia also exist Matschs 1970. photo 7 Nebehay C. Gustai> Klimt: Zeichnungen und Dokumentation (Katalog X V). survives in the of Theology theology department Vienna, 1969:240. Vienna 8 Bahr H. Gegen K?mt. Vienna, 1903. (In: Schorske CE. Fin-de-si?cle Vienna: University.3 culture and politics.New York: Vintage, 1981:59.) Klimt is now as a of universally recognised pioneer 9 Wyklicky H. Prima inter pares. Internal medicine inVienna at the begin modern Viennese art, and the are ning of the 20th century. Wien Klin Wcherischr 1983;95:601-6. faculty paintings 10 Rutledge RH. Theodor Billroth: a century later.Surgery 1995;118:36-43. as a in his brilliant career. Was regarded turning point 11 Hofmann W. Gustav Klimt. New York: New York Graphic Society, 1972. the difficulty with the faculty paintings just a matter 12 Vergo P.Gustav Kumts Philosophie und das Programm der Universit?t of and and would other academic gem?lde. Mitteilungen der ?sterreichischen Galerie 1978/79;22/23:69-100. place time, any 13 Constantino M. Klimt. New York: Knickerbocker Press, 1998. institutions in other times behave to those 14 Grist NR. Pandemic influenza 1918. BMJ 1979;20:199. differendy The 31st Pilgrim-Sister Betrie But if betimes she had a timorous lad, Whos kith and kin him sore had neglected With she warm his hertes blood pity would As if but she, herself, him understood And tak great care that he should notte die And callen him her owne sweetie pie. Now it befell this sister callen Bettie Was much renowned for amakin caffee In which full art and maestry she had But to no other wight the secret gave For he but sup, she thought might crave So a husbande lustily, she might get And certes it is, as Cupid doth confess A lusty man hath married maid for less! A too, there was, a worthy woman sister Yet could he well have given her good reason That in her own ward held just dominion, Of more than caffee she could him have pleasen A wenche thikke and well-I-growen was For she was well-I-wrought and cuddlesome With nose and eyghen mischievous pointed In shape, as might have pleased any man And buttocks brode and brestes round and hye In her own rank and lineage well begot But right fair werr her cheekes, Iwol not lye. A sprightly wenche, a jolly popilot Girt close she was with starched apron Her moodes changing oft, now up, now down In proper modesty and nice discretion As doth the sun in Aprille smile and frowne, While at her waist she wore a belte red Yet would she suffer no wight her to touch A smalle cap she had upon her head. In jolitie or pleasaunt gamesomnesse About the ward she looked with keen surveillance But if by chance, one did her arm-I-feel Her eyghen bright with much intelligance Like any hawk that on its tree top sits Would cry "ne pokee me or I shall scream" Which oft by paciunts was misunderstood To swoop on mice that at their peril slips And not, methinks, unto her owen good For if she did but spy a roving paciunt Yet was her voice as soft as any dove. On him would swoop and chide with much restreint So with the rest to Canterbury she came For she would have it but twas much amiss And who shall doubt, let him not read my tale. That he should get up from his bed to pisse Till he like cur, his tail betwixt his leg, Should creepe back unto his owne bed. JW Fletcher retired general practitioner, Wbodbridge, Suffolk 1508 BMJ VOLUME 325 21-28 DECEMBER 2002 bmj.com

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