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Past title information
Journal of Mental Science (1858-1962)
  • ISSN: 0368-315X (Print), 2514-9946 (Online)
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  • On the cover
  • Cover picture

    Oswald Tschirtner with his unique artistic language, gets directly to the heart of various phenomena of life. The artist abstracts and simplifies human figures, nature and biblical stories in a remarkable manner. Using drawing-feather and ink on paper Tschirtner makes human beings appear only consist of heads, mostly shown in profile with overlong extremities. The drawer’s stroke is delicate and the figures seem fragile and weightless. The majority of the artist's œuvre is created in clear contrasts of black and white. Sometimes one or two colours are added sensitively. On other sheets a line of handwriting provides insight into the drawn topic and the date of origin. The artist was born in 1920 in Austria and raised in a strongly Catholic family environment. The realization of his wish to study theology was made impossible by the World Wars, during which he had to serve as a soldier. From 1947 onwards, Tschirtner was living in mental institutions. As member of the artists community living and working at the House of Artists, nowadays part of the Art Brut Centre Gugging in Maria Gugging, Austria, Tschirtner became internationally well known for his unique manner of drawing and artistic style. Soon the artist's name became indispensable within in the circle of “Art Brut” and furthermore, across the borders of art history genres. In 1990 he received together with the group of Gugging Artists the “Oskar-Kokoschka Prize”. Today his artworks are part of renowned collections and frequently shown in international exhibitions. Oswald Tschirtner passed away in 2007. For further information please visit:

    Creditline: Oswald Tschirtner, 1980, Human figures. Marker on paper and wood, 260 × 170 cm © Privatstiftung – Künstler aus Gugging.

    Thanks to Drew Walker for co-ordinating this series of images and for obtaining permission to use them.

    We are always looking for interesting and visually appealing images for the cover of the Journal and would welcome suggestions or pictures, which should be sent to Dr Allan Beveridge, British Journal of Psychiatry, 21 Prescot Street London E1 8BB, UK or