War, Art, & Medicine
- By: Sian Knight
Conference: University College London and the National Portrait Gallery 8 and 9 November 2002
Henry Tonks: Art and Surgery; Strang Print Room, University College London; open Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday afternoons until March 2003 (tel 020 7679 2540)
Long before Leonardo da Vinci first picked up a brush to paint the male anatomy, the studies of art and medicine were closely intertwined. This conference—a collaboration between the National Portrait Gallery; University College, London; and the University of Westminster—aimed to explore some of the more complex relationships between medicine, conflict, and art.
Much of the first day centred on the work of Harold Gillies and Henry Tonks. Gillies was a military surgeon who made great advances in reconstructive surgery through repairing the mutilated faces of wounded soldiers during the first world war. Tonks also trained as a surgeon and was commissioned as a war artist. His early work, sanctioned by the