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Changes in artistic style after minor posterior stroke
  1. J M Annoni1,
  2. G Devuyst1,
  3. A Carota1,2,
  4. L Bruggimann1,
  5. J Bogousslavsky1
  1. 1Department of Neurology, Lausanne University Hospital, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland
  2. 2Centro ricerche in neuropsicologia I.R.C.C.S, Fondatione Santa Lucia, Via Ardeatina 307, 00172 Rome, Italy
  1. Correspondence to:
 Julien Bogousslavsky
 Department of Neurology, Lausanne University Hospital, CH 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland; Julien.Bogousslavskychuv.hospvd.ch

Abstract

Background: Two professional painters experienced significant changes in their art as the main consequence of minor stroke located in the left occipital lobe or thalamus.

Methods: The features of this artistic conversion were analysed on the basis of extensive neurological, neuropsychological, and psychiatric evaluations.

Results: Both painters, initially unaware of the artistic changes, exhibited mild signs of executive dysfunction, but no general cognitive decline. The first painter, who showed mild visual-perceptive difficulties (dyschromatopsia and scotoma in his right upper visual field after left occipital stroke), together with increased anxiety and difficulty in emotional control, switched to a more stylised and symbolic art. The second painter, who also presented features of emotionalism related to his left latero-thalamic stroke, switched from an impressionist style to a more joyous and geometric, but more simplistic, abstract art.

Conclusions: These findings show that mild cognitive and affective modifications due to focal posterior brain lesions can have significant repercussions on artistic expression.

  • DEX, Dysexecutive Questionnaire
  • MMSE, Mini Mental State Evaluation
  • PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder
  • art
  • emotion
  • neuropsychology
  • plasticity
  • stroke

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Footnotes

  • This work was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (grant nos. 3151AO-102271 to JM Annoni and 3200-061342.00 to J Bogousslavsky) and by the Biaggi Foundation

  • Competing interests: none declared

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