The art of diagnosis

20th May 2016 by Judith Harvey

The art of diagnosis

Diagnosis, as we know, depends on history and examination. A work of art lacks the former, but it’s interesting to consider what artists notice.

In the ancient civilizations of Greece and India the sculptor’s purpose was to portray human perfection. Representations of real, imperfect human beings are also rare in Egyptian art. There is a man with a withered leg, propping himself up on a staff – polio? Perhaps not coincidentally he features on a stele from the reign of the apostate pharaoh Akhenaten, who allowed himself to be depicted with a pot belly.

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