• PORTRAITS AND THE MEDICAL PROFESSION


Portrait d'un docteur ( Portrait of a Doctor) 

Francis Picabia 1935 

Oil on Canvas

Image: With thanks to Tate Gallery

I came across this painter whilst reading the January edition of ArteIn, a monthly Italian arts magazine. Many of his works are science related but this one in particular once I started looking into his works I responded to most as initially the portrait was of a friend of the artist who sat for him in the painter's home in Mougin.

The final portrait was exhibited in a show curated by Gertrude Stein among others and was later returned to Picabia who began to play around with the image, making it "sick", adding horns to the doctor's head and what have been described by art critics as 'pseudo-medical forceps' juxtaposed onto the original work.

The sentence that stuck with me after reading up about his work was the following " Tomorrow I am counting on painting to be my doctor"

As a psychiatrist I am now curious to understand the evolving dynamics between the doctor and the painter which led to him defacing so forcefully what was originally a portrait of his friend.