Lam Qua


Lam Qua, photographed by John Thomson in 1871.

Fascinating article by Veronique Greenwood about artist Lam Qua and his medical paintings done for doctor / minister Peter Parker in the mid to late 1800's. Although the subjects are disfigured with various tumors of varying sizes, the artist captures dignity and humanity in each one. As noted in an interview:

“There is something about the paintings that goes beyond gawkery, however. “I can’t speak for all humanity. I know some people find them stomach-churning,” Rachman says. “But to me … if you’re the kind of person who actually thinks maturely about human affliction rather than just turning your head away from it … these people are fascinating.” He reflects on the intensity of preparing for major surgery, the fear, the pain, the distress. At the thought of posing for a portrait first, he trails off. “It’s almost like watching someone get ready for battle.”

Lam Qua’s Portrait Number 6. YALE UNIVERSITY

Very insightful quote and well worth the time to read the article.