Posted by: ugleepen | June 7, 2012

Living with Arthritis – 3 Inspiring Stories From the Past

Arthritis can be a debilitating disease, there’s no doubt about it. For arthritis sufferers, the trick is to learn how to manage the disease so as to live as happy and productive a life as possible. This plays out in as many different ways as there are people living with arthritis.

Even people in the past, and long before modern treatments, found ways to continue doing what they most enjoyed in life. These three artists can be an inspiration to those of you who are wondering just how to do that.

Peter Paul Rubens. Although Ruben (1577 – 1640) lived before rheumatoid arthritis was defined as a diagnosis, it is fairly clear to scholars that Rubens did, indeed, suffer from severe rheumatoid arthritis. That didn’t stop Rubens from becoming one of the most famous 17th century Flemish artists.

He was a proponent of an “extravagant Baroque” style that emphasized movement and color, and learned to manage with his debilitating disease to paint amazingly intricate and detailed portraits and landscapes, as well as mythological and allegorical subjects (see painting left).

Auguste Renoir. It’s thought that Renoir (1841 – 1919) is the first well-documented case of rheumatoid arthritis in history.  Renoir is one of the most easily recognized French Impressionist painters, but most people are not aware that severe bouts of rheumatoid arthritis forced his hands to contract into claws, so that in order to continue painting the artist had to tie paintbrushes to his hand.

Not to be outdone by the disease, Renoir continued to be a leading painter of the Impressionist style, and is known as a “celebrator of beauty.”

Above is Renoir’s “Self Portrait.”

Raoul Dufy. This popular Fauvist painter (1877 – 1953), was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 1935. At the time gold salts was the only known treatment, but corticosteroids were being researched. Dufy was invited to Boston in 1950 to participate in the trials of this treatment.  Although Dufy found some relief with steroid therapy, the side effects contributed to his death in three years.

However, Dufy was a prolific painter in spite of living with RA, and developed a “colorful, decorative style” that became fashionable for designs of ceramics and textiles.

A good example of Dufy’s style is “Henley-Regatta” (left)

Managing arthritis in our modern day, even though much research has resulted in ameliorating medication and an understanding of contributing lifestyle elements, is still challenging. A simple help to managing activities of daily living such as handwriting, is the best ergonomic pen. The UGLee Pen is designed to be a comfort pen, allowing those of you with RA to write with little stress or discomfort.


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