Jeffrey M. Levine MD | Geriatric Specialist | Wound Care | Pressure Ulcers - News on Dr. Levine's medical and consulting practice, and reflections on our healthcare system.

Category: Art & Medicine

Sketching the Subway and the Disappearance of Time

When one rides the subway, particularly the local, time is marked by the staccato passage of stations punctuated by announcements and the in-and-out rush of commuters as the doors open and close. I recently began carrying my sketchbook on my commute to work and noticed that sketching can make time disappear. My observation brought understanding of the right side of the brain, and connected me to …Read More

Getting Vesalius’s Goat

The anatomical masterpiece by Andreas Vesalius entitled De Humani Corporis Fabrica had two editions, the first in 1543 and the second in 1555. There were many changes in the text and woodcut illustrations, but one of the most mysterious alterations was the redrawing of the title page. Both pages feature a public dissection with Vesalius dissecting a female corpse in a makeshift amphitheater, but the …Read More

Goya’s Physician and the Art of Caring

I recently went to Boston to see the Goya exhibit at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and was thrilled to see one of my favorite paintings by this artist – Self Portrait with Dr. Arrias. The painting was on loan from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts – a museum I never had the chance to visit. In my opinion this is one of the …Read More

Insights into Geriatrics from Cartoonist Roz Chast

I’ve never posted a book review but will make an exception for this amazing new graphic memoir.  Roz Chast, a beloved and well known cartoonist for the New Yorker, has written a brilliant book that should be required reading for the geriatric curriculum. It is entitled “Can’t we talk about something more PLEASANT,” and the title comes from her parents’ refusal to discuss their advancing …Read More

The Enigma of the Historiated “V” in Vesalius’s Fabrica

This post continues to mark the 500th birthday of the great anatomist Andreas Vesalius, whose masterpiece tome, De Humani Corporis Fabrica, skillfully combined art and medicine. Today I will discuss the enigma of the historiated V that was introduced in the 1555 second edition of the Fabrica.  It appears twice: once in the Dedication to Charles V and later at the beginning of Book 5 …Read More

Sketching Gowanus Canal

I was always intrigued by the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. I read so much about it, with its pollution and notorious odors, situated in one of the most rapidly gentrifying areas of the City. Then by a gesture of fate I learned that the New York City Urban Sketchers were spending a Sunday there. I had no choice but to go and check it out. …Read More

The Old Man of the Lake on the Cover of The Gerontologist

In 2010 the closing of St. Vincents Hospital in Manhattan gifted me with time to indulge my wanderlust, and so I went to Lake Titicaca in the Bolivian highlands of South America to celebrate the winter solstice with the shamans. The Gerontologist just published a cover photo from that trip, and here is the story of the image that features an ancient ceramic portrait of …Read More

Jewish History in Vesalius’s Fabrica

This is another post to mark the 500th birthday of Andreas Vesalius, author of the great anatomy text entitled De Humani Corporis Fabrica (On the Fabric of the Human Body) – the lavishly illustrated masterpiece that combined art and medicine. The Fabrica will be 472 years old this year, and in this post I will reveal a previously untold secret from inside the book – a …Read More

Art & Medicine: Seeing the Light in Watercolor

These are my most recent watercolors painted in Washington Heights. They feature the markets, bus stops, street people, and Orthodox Jews around Broadway, Fort Washington and St. Nicholas Avenues. Thanks to my teacher, the master Timothy Clark, I am finally beginning to see the light and gain the ability to paint it. But with a little thought these same lessons can be applied to improve …Read More

Arion Triumphant

This post is written in honor of the 500th birthday of the great anatomist, Andreas Vesalius, who combined art and medicine in his landmark masterpiece, De Humani Corporis Fabrica. I am a lifelong fan of Vesalius and currently collaborating with the physician-scholar Michael Nevins on a study of the title page of the Fabrica. On a recent trip to the New York Academy of Medicine’s …Read More