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Vital Signs


In this section, we highlight tidbits from past issues of the magazine. These messages from yesteryear remind us of the pace of change as well as of some timeless truths.

Covering the arts in medicine

The fact that this issue's cover features a work of photographic art inspired us to see how many times we've put art on our cover. It proved to be a harder number to pin down than one might suspect, since the line between "art" and "illustration" is blurry. But if one considers art a visual statement created to stand on its own, and illustration a visual representation of a statement made in some other form, then arguably this is our eighth such cover (out of a total of 91 issues).

Sometimes we've used an existing work of art—a Surrealist painting by Rene Magritte, for example, to go with a 1998 feature offering insights from literature into mental illness.

But sometimes—as in this issue—the cover artwork has been the subject of the feature. In 1992, a Dartmouth art historian wrote about "the transition of the doctor's image in portraiture through the ages— from total humbug to transcendent hero." On the cover of that issue (depicted at left) was Winthrop Chandler's circa 1780 portrait of Dr. William Glysson. In 1996, we featured DMS graduate David Teplica, whose "works of photographic art focus on the human form, while his approach to [plastic] surgery benefits from the eye of an aesthete." That cover (at right) carried Teplica's "The Awakening." And our Fall 2002 cover (below) featured "Five Surgeons" by Dr. Joe Wilder, a 1942 graduate of Dartmouth College. In his paintings of operating room scenes, Wilder, a retired surgeon who died in July of 2003, offered an unusual window into "a milieu that is at once awesomely technical and profoundly intimate."

Dartmouth is renowned for emphasizing "the art of medicine"—what used to be called "bedside manner." But there's another kind of art of medicine as well.

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