Art is a window to the mind. As painting is a product of the artist’s brain, stroke usually entails significant changes of the expression of figurative artists. Thus, these artistic changes, which are generally stereotyped, should reflect specific neural dysfunction.
Several case reports and some review series described famous painters who changed dramatically their art after right (i.e. Anton Räderscheidt, Otto Dix, Reynold Brown, Lovis Corinth) or left hemisphere stroke (Zlatyu Boijadjiev, Paul-Elie Gernez) because of the consequences of spatial neglect or aphasia, respectively.
The study of such cases might allow increasing insight on the neurologic underpinnings of the creative artistic process, as well as many aspects of other general brain functions. This methodological approach to the study of the artistic and creative brain belongs to the discipline of neuroaesthetics.
As per the poststroke changes, it is evident that psychological changes referring to the process of coping with disability can modify the artist’s style and themes. However, most painters with left hemisphere stroke and linguistic disturbances (i.e. aphasia) show similar features after stroke: an inability to deal adequately with perspectives and details, turning to the use of vivid and less nuanced colors, and to rigid geometric repetitive features.
In my consultation, I met an a painter who, after a stroke that left him with severe aphasia, completely changed his lifelong abstract style, as he transitioned from black and white detailed and very small figures to gross and vividly colored shapes.
Freud said that language is the mental coin of the human thinking. How is it possible that a world without language is, for the artist, more colored? Can left hemispheric damage produce in arts a more colored world by shifting from a left to a “right hemisphere” mode of functioning?
Subscribe to Blog via Email
- Alcohol-related syndromes
- Cerebrovascular diseases
- Cognition and Behavior
- Cranial Nerves
- Lewy Body Disease
- Movement disorders
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Neurologic mysteries
- Parkinson Disease
- Progressive Supranuclear Palsy
- Unilateral Spatial Neglect