Sunday, 16 December 2012

Leaping Tall Buildings For Your Art

In searching for articles and papers about Rheumatoid Arthritis I came across two that talked about famous artists. I had heard that Renoir had RA and that makes his body of work even more impressive.  From the picture below it looks like he was making his own working splints. Eventually he painted with the brush wedged into his hand.

     Renoir's hands

Garden by Renoir

Great artists with RA: what did their diseaseand coping teach? Part I. Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Alexej von Jawlensky by Dr Henning Zeidler. As Renoir said. "The pain passes but the beauty remains."

Here's is one of von Jawlensky"s paintings

                                                           Alexej von Jawlensky

It amazes me that they were capable of so much sustained creative work at the same time as they were coping with uncontrolled arthritis. No Dmards, no biologics, just sheer determination. 

In chronic disease there is some discussion of "learned helplessness".  That is pretty well self explanatory. If someone else will take on everything that is difficult for you to do, you eventually will avoid those tasks even when you may feel well enough to do them at a later date.  It's hard to keep fighting to hang onto your independance.

Here are the artists of Part ll

Great Artists With Rheumatoid Arthritis. What Did Their Disease and Coping Teach?: Part II. Raoul Dufy and Niki de Saint Phalle.

"These artists represent an outstanding example of successful coping with RA in former times when, for the first time, corticosteroids were available, but nevertheless treatment was very limited"

                                                                       Raoul Dufy

This is not the work of miserable people. They must have had awesome coping resources. Maybe they were helped by the fact that this was their occupation and they were very successful in this creative sphere so they were never faced with the "permanent non-participation in the workforce" that can be so damaging to people who must unwillingly give up the jobs they want to or are trained to do.

To me these are inspiring stories about possibilities. 

                                                                           Niki de Saint Phalle

If I could run around like these bathing suit ladies I would be so happy.

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