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Egon Schiele, The Family (Squatting Couple)

Traumatic Life Events

This series of commentaries describes the effects of traumatic life events—accidents, war, plague, Spanish Flu, tidal waves, involuntary institutional placement, abandonment at sea, and presidential assassination.


The Suicide of Dorothy Hale

Frida Kahlo

Bus accident with disability
July 2003

The Nightmare

John Henry Fuseli

Nightmares as traumatic life experiences
May 2004

The Family (Squatting Couple)

Egon Schiele

Devastation and death from Spanish Flu
September 2004


John Singer Sargent

Mustard gas attack in war
January 2005

The Plague of Ashdod

Nicolas Poussin

Biblical account of plague
March 2006

Self-Portrait After Spanish Flu

Edvard Munch

Surviving the Spanish Flu and mental disorder aftermath
April 2006

Napoleon Bonaparte Visiting the Plague-Stricken at Jaffa

Baron Antoine-Jean Gros

The effect of plague during wartime
May 2006

Raft of the Medusa

Théodore Géricault

Starvation and cannibalism among survivors of a shipwreck
June 2006

Under the Wave off Kanagawa

Katsushika Hokusai

Tidal wave near Mt Fuji
January 2008

The Mothers (VI From Seven Woodcuts to War)

Käthe Kollwitz

Mother's response to the loss of her son in WWI
November 2008

Miranda—The Tempest

John William Waterhouse

Crisis in settling Jamestown Colony as the basis for Shakespeare's play
January 2010

Picasso's Guernica

Pablo Picasso

Condemnation of total war
September 2010

Weeping Woman

Pablo Picasso

Portrait of Dora Maar in abject despair
January 2012

Washington Crossing the Delaware

Emanuel Leutze

Heroic portrait of George Washington in wartime
February 2012

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi: Freedom to Lead

Shepard Fairey

Resistence to military dictatorship
July 2012

An Office or Your Life

James Wales

Assassination of President Garfield
November 2012


Anselm Kiefer

Effort by the next generation to come to terms with the sins of war in Germany
July 2013


Max Beckmann

Escape from wartime tragedy
September 2013

In the Realms of the Unreal

Henry Darger

Traumatizing institutional placement at an early age
November 2013