Sunday, July 3, 2016

Week 2: MedTech + Art

The Hippocratic Oath states, “I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.”
It is hard to differentiate medicine and art from one another because the two have been strongly integrated throughout history. The study of medicine would not have been able to develop without illustrations created during the Renaissance, which depicted anatomy and specific medical procedures. Artistic expression in medicine then evolved to utilize photograph technology such as the Visible Human Project, during which researchers took photos of thinly sliced male and female bodies in order to create a comprehensive digital database. MRI’s were created by taking 3D X-ray scans of human anatomy. MRI’s have inspired many artists to explore portraiture through imaging of the human brain. Among these artists are Justine Cooper, Marta de Menezes and Angela Palmer, who used MRI images to create glass replicas of the brain.

The Body Worlds exhibit uses plastination to preserve full human bodies as well as individual organs and bone structures. These cadavers, once only seen in operation rooms, are now accessible to a much wider audience.

The development of prosthetic limbs and plastic surgery proves doctor’s ability to carry out aesthetically pleasing medical procedures. Metal artificial limbs have been replaced with prosthetics that look natural. Today’s plastic surgeons make sure that their incisions are hidden from view. For example, a procedure done for a burn victim involving a complete face transplant has allowed the patient to have a more “normal” face.  

External devices have also been developed such as Enchroma glasses. This company has designed glasses that allow colorblind people to see color. Since reports that 8% of men and 0.5% of women are colorblind, this innovation has the potential to enhance the life experience of millions.

Medicine has used art to further their understanding of the human body, and art has used medicine to push their boundaries and create new mediums. Therefore, medicine and art are highly integrated practices where one couldn’t have evolved without the help of the other.


Enchroma. "Echroma: Color for the Color Blind." Enchroma. Last modified 2012.
    Accessed July 3, 2016.

Tyson, Peter. "The Hippocratic Oath Today." Nova. Last modified March 27, 2001.
    Accessed July 3, 2016.


Premier Exhibitions, In. "Bodies...The Exhibition Learn More."
    PremierExhibitions. Last modified 2014. Accessed July 3, 2016.

Casini, Sylivia. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) as Mirror and Portrait: MRI
    Configurations between Science and the Arts. N.p.: The Johns Hopkins
    University Press and the Society for Literature and Science., 2012.

"Medicine pt3." Video file. Youtube. Posted by Uconlineprogram, April 22, 2012.
    Accessed July 3, 2016.

"Colorblind guy experiences true color for the first time with EnChroma
    glasses." Video file. Youtube. Posted by Katherine Empey, March 15, 2015.
    Accessed July 3, 2016.

Palmer, Angela. Angela Palmer Art. Photograph. Cutlure24. Accessed July 3, 2016.

Face Transplant. Photograph. Accessed July 3, 2016.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I think you recapped the topics of medicine and art for this week's lecture really well. Talking about how we have depicted the human body using art with the visible human project, and now MRI's. And offering more exmaples by going on to explain how art and medicine compliment each other well with the use of plastic surgery on burn victims, and the enchroma glasses which give colorblind people an opportunity to see colors. Medicine is a field of science that is complimented extremely well by art.