Views & Reviews Medical Classics

Det Syke Barn (The Sick Child)

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b1439 (Published 06 April 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1439
  1. Colin Martin, independent consultant in healthcare communication, London
  1. cmpubrel{at}aol.com

    Det Syke Barn (The Sick Child) isn’t a textbook of Norwegian paediatrics; it’s a painting by Edvard Munch that was first exhibited in Oslo in 1886. It’s not the artist’s best known painting, that of a screaming figure with hands clasped to a contorted face, now debased in countless parodies and caricatures. But Munch’s image of a mortally ill girl or young woman is important because it marks a definitive transition in his painting style, from traditional realism to a more abstract and subjective expressionism.

    Initially exhibited with the unspecific title Study, the painting’s …

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