ART BLOG Details

Famous Nurses In Art History


Because nurses are superheroes

While we are all at home complaining about being unable to go to our favourite museums and galleries, doctors and nurses are busy tending to patients across the world affected by coronavirus. Modern day superheroes, nurses don’t get enough credit for the hard work they do. So, we thought we’d run through a look at the way the nurse has been depicted throughout art history.

Takeuchi Keishu, Nurse, 1887

This nurse from Meiji Era Japan shows a Western influence on Japanese culture. Watering flowers in front of a painting of a boat at sea, the print shows an openness to new cultures. The Japanese Red Cross was formed in 1887.

Henrietta Rae, The Lady With The Lamp, 1891

Perhaps the most famous nurse of all time, Florence Nightingale was also known as the lady with the lamp, as she attended wounded soldiers by candlelight. The British nurse formalised modern nursing education, and she established the first scientifically based nursing school in London in 1860. In fact, International Nurses Day falls on May 12, her birthday.

Lev Kotlyarov, Nurses Rest After Duty, 1956

These soviet nurses look as though they’re having a rest after a hard day tending to the sick. We can really sense the sisterhood between them as they lie on top of one another in the sun’s heat.

Robert Maguire, Nurse In The Tropics, 1971

This beautiful nurse is somewhere we’d all rather be right now. This piece was painted for a 1971 reissue of an old romance novel "Nurse in the tropics" written by Peggy Dern.

Eleanor Antin, The Adventures Of A Nurse, 1976

Eleanor Antin takes on the role of the nurse in this performative piece from the 1970s. Within the film Antin plays with cut-out men, she says; “I consider the usual aids to self-definition — age, talent, time, and space — as tyrannical limitations upon my freedom of choice.”

Walter Robinson, Nurse and Surgeon, 2019

Reminding us that nurses can give care AND be seductive, Walter Robinson’s paintings of nurses in surgery show us just how important nurses are.

Commissioned for the Order of Nurses in Lebanon on Mother’s Day, Sami Basbous’s smiling nurse shows a nurturing side against a calm blue backdrop.

The Art Gorgeus