Commentary on medical news by a practicing physician.

  • Epocrates MedSearch Drug Lookup


    "When many cures are offered for a disease, it means the disease is not curable" -Anton Chekhov

    ''Once you tell people there's a cure for something, the more likely they are to pressure doctors to prescribe it.''
    -Robert Ehrlich, drug advertising executive.

    "Opinions are like sphincters, everyone has one." - Chris Rangel

    email: medpundit-at-ameritech.net

    or if that doesn't work try:


    Medpundit RSS

    Quirky Museums and Fun Stuff

    Who is medpundit?

    Tech Central Station Columns

    Book Reviews:
    Read the Review

    Read the Review

    Read the Review

    More Reviews

    Second Hand Book Reviews


    Medical Blogs


    DB's Medical Rants

    Family Medicine Notes

    Grunt Doc




    Code Blog: Tales of a Nurse

    Feet First

    Tales of Hoffman

    The Eyes Have It


    SOAP Notes


    Cut-to -Cure

    Black Triangle



    Kevin, M.D

    The Lingual Nerve

    Galen's Log



    Doctor Mental



    Finestkind Clinic and Fish Market

    The Examining Room of Dr. Charles

    Chronicles of a Medical Mad House



    Health Facts and Fears

    Health Policy Blogs

    The Health Care Blog

    HealthLawProf Blog

    Facts & Fears

    Personal Favorites

    The Glittering Eye

    Day by Day


    The Business Word Inc.

    Point of Law

    In the Pipeline


    Tim Blair

    Jane Galt

    The Truth Laid Bear

    Jim Miller

    No Watermelons Allowed

    Winds of Change

    Science Blog

    A Chequer-Board of Night and Days

    Arts & Letters Daily

    Tech Central Station





    The Skeptic's Dictionary

    Recommended Reading

    The Doctor Stories by William Carlos Williams

    Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82 by Elizabeth Fenn

    Intoxicated by My Illness by Anatole Broyard

    Raising the Dead by Richard Selzer

    Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy

    The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks

    The Sea and Poison by Shusaku Endo

    A Midwife's Tale by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich



    American Academy of Pediatrics

    General Health Info

    Travel Advice from the CDC

    NIH Medical Library Info



    Sunday, July 25, 2004

    The Gynecology of Flowers: Flowers have long been popular subjects for painting, from still lifes to landscapes. But when Georgia O'Keeffe painted flowers, she caused a sensation. For O'Keeffe didn't paint flowers from a man's eye view, or even a woman's eye view. She painted flowers from a butterfly's eye view. Many of her flower canvases were huge (the largest was six by seven feet), with the flower in complete domination - a close-up view that even today gets closer to the essence of a flower than even a camera can.

    Pink Sweet Peas, Georgia O'Keefe 1927

    To many critics, that butterfly view was outrageously sexual, even pornographic. They looked at the luscious folds of petals, and dangling carpals and anthers in them and saw not plant genitalia, but female genitalia. It was the Jazz Age when Freud and his theories were all the rage, and so many of those theories got applied to O'Keeffe and her flowers. It didn't help that she already had a reputation for eroticism thanks to the photographs taken by her lover (later husband), Alfred Stieglitz.

    But O'Keeffe always denied the gynecological metaphor, telling her critics: ".. you hung all your own associations with flowers on my flower and you write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see of the flower - and I don't." She painted her flowers not to shock but to record the play of shapes, color, and light that she saw when she looked at a flower closely. Her brain didn't think in words so much as it did in patterns and colors:

    The meaning of a word - to me - is not as exact as the meaning of a color. Colors and shapes make a more definite statement than words. I write this because such odd things have been done about me with words. I have often been told what to paint. I am often amazed at the spoken and written word telling me what I have painted.

    Which is why her flower paintings transcend the label of flower porn. They are visual poetry. Keats' described the sweet pea flower as "wings of gentle flush o'er delicate white." O'Keeffe's vision of the flower is the same. She may have not have been able to express it in words, but she felt it just the same. Lucky for us, she could turn that vision into a picture worth more than a thousand words.


    posted by Sydney on 7/25/2004 06:29:00 AM 0 comments


    Post a Comment

    This page is powered by Blogger, the easy way to update your web site.

    Main Page


    Home   |   Archives

    Copyright 2006