The medico-artistic phenomenon and its implications for medical education

Med Hypotheses. 2010 Jan;74(1):169-73. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2009.07.013. Epub 2009 Aug 5.


A better understanding of the relationship between medicine and art could have significant implications for the role of the creative arts in medical education. This study seeks to contribute to that understanding by providing an overview of the involvement of medical practitioners in artistic creation from the Renaissance to the present--based on historical material, statements published by medico-artists in professional journals, and an informal survey of members of a Medical Art Society. Our findings support the hypothesis that there are close links between medical practice and artistic creativity, and that individuals who engage in both forms of activity find the interaction beneficial. The implications of this hypothesis are that the inclusion of practical art training in the medical curriculum would not only enrich the experience of medical students during their education, but would also enhance their later wellbeing, both while they are engaged in medical practice and after they have retired. Although this study is preliminary, we believe that we have identified a consistent relationship which, if established, would have significant implications for medical education, and which therefore merits further investigation by psychological, sociological and educational researchers. The article concludes with some suggestions for further research.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Art*
  • Australia
  • Education, Medical / methods*
  • History, 15th Century
  • History, 16th Century
  • History, 17th Century
  • History, 18th Century
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical