An art exhibition in Madrid aims to highlight breast cancer and the physical and psychological scars left behind by mastectomies.
The Museo Nacional de Arte Thyssen-Bornemisza exhibition, titled “From Skin to Canvas: Another Look at Breast Cancer,” features digital copies of works by Francisco de Goya, Peter Paul Reubens, and Hans Baldung Grien that have been altered to fit look like nudes have undergone mastectomies.
“This intervention will try to “change our perception of the processes linked to the disease with the potential that the arts have to assist in treatment,” said Juan Alberto García de Cubas, president of the Fundación Cultura en Vena, organizer of the exposition.
As part of the show, Cultura en Vena filmed a video of Goya’s La Maja Desnuda being taken to a hospital in an ambulance, where the painting undergoes “surgery” while a team of artists paints a scar across its left breast. . The artwork is then taken by ambulance to the museum and hung on the wall.
Gema Salas, a 44-year-old architect who underwent a mastectomy to treat breast cancer, said the exposure had a profound effect on her.
It’s common for women who have a mastectomy to need to learn to love themselves and their bodies again, Salas said.
“For me the painting represents how after the treatment, when you feel a bit lost, it’s like being reborn as a woman,” she said. “Having a scar doesn’t mean you’re less of a woman.”