Modern technology helps shed light on illnesses in artists of the past

Clinical laboratories are becoming an important tool in understanding some of the effects of drugs, chemicals, and diseases on the creativity exhibited by a variety of artists

(November 15, 2005) SAN DIEGO, CA - Illnesses, drugs and chemicals have influenced the artistic achievements of many of the world's best-known composers, classical painters, authors and sculptors. The associations between these elements and art may be close and many, and the tools of modern technology, including the use of clinical laboratory analysis, are providing further insights into this interaction. A new article, "The Effects of Diseases, Drugs and Chemicals on the Creativity and Productivity of Famous Sculptors, Classic Painters, Classic Music Composers and Authors," sheds additional light on this fascinating subject.

The article is the latest commentary from Paul L. Wolf, M.D., Professor of Clinical Pathology at the University of California and VA San Diego Medical Centers, San Diego, CA, and Director of Autopsy and Hematology Laboratory, VA Medical Center. In addition to being Chair of the San Diego Section of the American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC), Wolf is renowned for applying the technology of clinical labs to the diseases affecting famous artists of the past. His new article appears in the November 2005 edition of the Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, a publication of the College of American Pathologists (CAP).

Highlights of Dr. Wolf's observations include the following:

Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) developed various illnesses throughout his life, including gout. Gout is characterized by inflammation of the joints due to a buildup of uric acid. Michelangelo's right knee, swollen and deformed from the disease, is depicted in Raphael's fresco, School of Athens, which appears in the Vatican, having been commissioned by Pope Julius II during the time Michelang


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