Virtual Mentor

Virtual Mentor. December 1999, Volume 1, Number 4.

Images of Healing and Learning

  • Print

Pieter Brueghel's Winter Landscape with a Bird Trap

Winter Landscape with a Bird Trap, by 16th century Flemish painter Pieter Bruegel, shows how art and visual images have long been used to promote the healing process.

Pieter Bruegel (about 1525-69), Winter Landscape with a Bird Trap, 1565. Oil. 38 x 56 cm. Wiltshire, Wilton House. (Available at: http://metalab.unc.edu/wm/paint/auth/bruegel/.)

Art and visual images have long been used to promote healing processes. Research has shown that certain works of art can positively affect patients' clinical outcomes. Representations of nature—for example, a picture of a pond surrounded by trees—can have beneficial effects, whereas abstract artworks, those open to a variety of conceptual interpretations, appear to be less therapeutic in a hospital or nursing-home setting.



References

  1. Friedrich MJ. The arts of healing. JAMA. 1999;281:1779-1781.
  2. Sundaram R. Art therapy with a hospitalized child. Am J Art Ther. 1995;34:2-8.
  3. MacLeod F, Mate A. Life enrichment for long-stay patients with acute care: an interdisciplinary program. Perspectives (Montclair). 1991;15:2-6.
  4. Hyman R. Choosing art for your hospital: some basic do's and don'ts. Hospitals. 1979;53:95-98.
  5. Machaver H. Famous works of art create a therapeutic patient environment. Hospitals. 1979:53:106-107.
  6. Feight JW. Art and the hospital environment. Health Care Manage Rev. 1988;13:87-91.
  7. Scott S. Hospitals don't brush off the many benefits of art. Mod Healthcare. 1992;22:54, 56.
  8. Bower JO. Incorporating art into the patient experience. AORN J 1995;61:858-862.
  9. Hardgrove C. Children respond to therapeutic art. Hospitals. 1980:54:67-69.
  10. Birren F. Human response to color and light. Hospitals. 1979;53:93-96.

The viewpoints expressed on this site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the AMA.