Art is a characteristic of mankind, which requires superior central nervous processing and integration of motor functions with visual information. At the present time, a significant amount of information related to neurobiological basis of artistic creation has been derived from neuro-radiological cognitive studies, which have revealed that subsequent to tissue destruction, the artists continue to create art. The current study aims to review the most important cases of visual artists with stroke and to discuss artistic skills recovery and compensation as well as artistic style after stroke.


The role of various central nervous system regions in artistic creation was reviewed on the basis of previously published functional studies. Our PubMed search (1995-2015) has identified 10 famous artists with right cerebral stroke as well as 5 with left cerebral stroke who survived and continued to create art after stroke. As the artists included in this review lived at various times during the twentieth century and in different countries, clinical information related to their case was limited. However, it appears that artistic skills recovery and compensation appear within days after stroke. Some of the artists would subsequently change their artistic style. All these elements have been evaluated within the context of specific clinical cases.


The poststroke artistic skills recovery and compensation with development of a new style or the opposite, regaining the previous prestroke style, represents a significant element of clinical importance in medical rehabilitation as well as neuroesthetics, which requires further evaluation. At the present time, the molecular mechanisms of artistic creation are poorly understood, and more standardized clinical and experimental studies are needed.


One of the best documented cases associated with development of a new painting style is represented by Anton Raderscheidt (1892–1970), a significant member of the Dada current as well as a prolific Magischer Realismus adept from Koln, Germany (32). Anton Raderscheid developed a right cerebral stroke, which was associated with left hemiplegia and loss of the left visual field as well as left-side neglect. In addition, he showed prosopagnosia, which relates to difficulty in identifying familiar faces (32). Prior to his right hemispheric stroke, the artist represented icon-like characters with great accuracy and in great detail (Figure 2).

What is a stroke?

A stroke happens when normal blood flow in an area of your brain is interrupted. This can happen either because a blood vessel (a tube-like structure carrying blood around the body) has become blocked by a clot or has broken or burst. Our brain cells need a constant supply of fresh blood carrying oxygen and nutrients to stay alive. Therefore, if blood is unable to get to these cells, even for a very short time, the cells start to die very quickly. As a result, a person may suffer brain damage in the affected area. For this reason, a stroke is sometimes called a “brain attack.” Another term for stroke is “cerebrovascular accident,” or CVA.

Depending on the location of the stroke, a stroke may cause a disability because the affected part of the brain can no longer send signals to some parts of the body to control movements, sensations. and other bodily functions For example, if the cells die in an area of the brain that controls speech, a person may have trouble speaking or understanding speech. In some strokes, the person may have trouble moving certain parts of their body, or their memory may be affected.


Types of Stroke

Most strokes are categorized as either an ischemic stroke or a hemorrhagic stroke.

Christopher Blake Artist, Art after stroke

Types of Stoke



Ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke. This type of stroke occurs if a blood vessel gets blocked by a blood clot (thrombus) or by fat deposits (plaque). Ischemic strokes are further described by the location of the clot.

Thrombotic Stroke

A thrombotic stroke is caused by a blood clot that forms along the wall of a blood vessel or because of a blockage of fat deposits.

Embolic Stroke/Cerebral Embolism

An embolic stroke or cerebral embolism happens when a clot (an embolus) from another part of your body travels into the brain and blocks a blood vessel there. Most commonly, those blood clots come from the heart after a heart attack or when someone has irregular heartbeats, like with atrial fibrillation.



A hemorrhagic stroke is much less common than an ischemic stroke. This type of stroke occurs when a blood vessel carrying blood to part of the brain hemorrhages (breaks or bursts). This allows blood to leak into the brain. The two main types of hemorrhagic strokes are intracerebral and subarachnoid.

Intracerebral Hemorrhagic Stroke 

In an intracerebral hemorrhagic stroke, blood from a broken blood vessel leaks into the brain and damages brain cells. Also, cells beyond the broken blood vessel die because they are unable to get their normal blood supply.

Subarachnoid Hemorrhagic Stroke

A subarachnoid hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel near the surface of the brain breaks, causing blood to collect between the skull and the surface of the brain. This causes irritation to the lining of the brain and is often very painful.


Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

A TIA, also known as a “mini” stroke, is an ischemic stroke that goes away quickly because the blockage breaks up. Symptoms may last for only a few minutes or one or two hours. Since the blockage resolves quickly, brain cells do not die, and the TIA doesn’t cause permanent disability.

Christopher Blake Artist, Transient Ischemic Attack - Mini Stroke

A TIA is often a warning sign of a full-blown ischemic stroke — possibly the same day or in the very near future. Therefore, if you or someone you care for experiences symptoms of a TIA that resolve, an immediate and thorough medical evaluation is necessary.


How Common are Strokes?

Almost 800,000 people have strokes each year in the United States. Of these, about 140,000 people die annually from their strokes, making it the third most common cause of death in this country. Older men tend to have more strokes than older women. But older women are more likely to die from strokes than older men. Also, African Americans have twice the risk of a first stroke compared to white Americans. The likelihood of suffering a TIA also increases with age. Up to 40% of all people who suffer a TIA will go on to have a full stroke later in life.

Although just over 1 out of 10 strokes are the hemorrhagic type, they account for 3 of 10 deaths from stroke each year.


Causes and Symptoms of Stroke

Christopher Blake Artist, Stroke Causes Symptoms and ways to minimise risk