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Injuries

I have an injured ligament in my lower back that's inhibiting my life somewhat at the moment. I almost didn't post anything on the blog today, despite my nearly two-year long practice of trying to do exactly that. Then I thought of something relevant that I could write. I asked myself the question: are there any good representations of physical injury in the history of art?

There are images like this, by Pieter Breugel the Elder:


But great though this is, the injuries are not being presented entirely from a feeling of sympathy. Believe it or not, the caricatured style of the faces conforms to a long tradition of only representing peasants as comic creatures, for the amusement of wealthy early Renaissance art buyers. Even if there is sympathy for these poor mutilated fellows, it's not of the sort that is saying "this must change." Whether they were born this way or were mutilated by work, life, or war, Breugel came from a class and a society in which people had a place, a station in life. Some men were born kings, some were born without legs. If you were one of the latter, too bad. The proper response for the able bodied and wealthy was not "social revolution now", but "remember how quickly fate can change a life." A matter of private morality, not public change.

So what I want to as is: can anyone can think of a representation of physical injury in art that is done from a sympathetic point of view?

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Comments

  1. Well, Frida Kahlo painted her own injuries sympathetically - does that count?

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