Pope, Robert (Canadian 1956-1992)

Self-Portrait with Dr. Langley

Reference Type:
Canadian artist Robert Pope died in 1992 at age 36 from an aggressive form of Hodgkin’s disease that he fought for ten years. During his treatment he created almost 100 images that expressed the experiences of cancer patients. They were included in a 1991 book he wrote called Illness and Healing, Images of Cancer, which describes his entire experience undergoing treatment. He wrote, “art is powerful preventive medicine. Looking at a picture is like walking through an endless series of doors, with each succeeding door leading us deeper and deeper into a rich experience. This journey stimulates our minds, our emotions, and our souls; it makes us more alive. Ultimately the esthetic experience heals us and makes us whole.” (http://robertpopefoundation.com/programs/art-exhibition-program/) Pope said that this image of himself and his hematologist was based on Spanish artist Francisco Goya’s 1820 self-portrait with the man who saved his life, Dr. Eugenio García Arrieta. In each, the doctor supports the patient both physically and psychologically, while the patient sits somewhat passively hoping for the best. Notes by Mariann Smith
Critical Illness
Patient Experience
Physician-Patient Relations
Robert Pope Foundation