Disease painting or painting disease: How does illness and hospitalisation affect children's artistry?

BAYRAKCİ B., Forouz A., Sahin A. B., Abali M., Aliyeva G. Z.

PERCEPTION, vol.38, no.11, pp.1721-1727, 2009 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 38 Issue: 11
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Doi Number: 10.1068/p6138
  • Journal Name: PERCEPTION
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.1721-1727
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


There are numerous speculations about famous artists and how their perception was affected by their medical conditions. In this study, we examined how illness and hospitalisation affect children's art. A total of 157 paintings by 122 hospitalised children were interpreted by three reputed artists. Works of ill children were compared with those of a control group from all international art exhibition. We also comment on how diseases influenced the technique of famous artists to further examine the possible impact of illness oil the artistry of hospitalised children. Developmental delay in painting was evident in the Study group. Use of ready-made schemas was a common practice (55%). 56% of the work from patients older than eight years failed in perspective and site perception. The theme in 89% of the drawings had no human figures. Projection of self sufferings, prominent elementary lines, and reflection of distorted perception could be clearly recognised in various study materials; anxiety about assigned Surgery was exhibited by scribbling. There exists a close relationship between medicine and humanities. The interpretation of fine art from a medical perspective may help to increase our appreciation of the suffering of an individual. It is obvious that diseases change the artistic style and inner perspective. The question is how do healthcare specialists view this?