Article Text

Download PDFPDF
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;


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

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • 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