What Pandemic Portraits Illuminate About Balancing Vulnerability and Inurement

Author ORCID Identifier

Gilbert https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5713-0664

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

AMA Journal of Ethics






Portraits of clinicians quickly became emblematic of what the COVID-19 pandemic has demanded of everyone, especially caregivers who witnessed deaths likely unprecedented in number during their careers. This article describes an arts-based research protocol exploring portraiture as a medium for representing and understanding clinicians’ experiences, mostly during the first year of the pandemic. This article presents Shadow of Corona, a large oil on canvas portrait commissioned by the AMA Journal of Ethics to commemorate the American Medical Association’s 175th year. The article also includes Sarah, a charcoal study drawing for that portrait, and Front Lines of Care, a 3 by 3 collection of 9 smaller oil on canvas portraits.


AMA Journal of Ethics, Copyright [2022] American Medical Association. All rights reserved. The AMA Journal of Ethics® is a registered trademark of the American Medical Association.

There is no implied endorsement by the AMA or AMA Journal of Ethics.

AMA disclaims and liability to any part of the accuracy, completeness or availability of the materials for any damages arising out of the use or non-use of any information contained therein.

Opinions expressed in the AMA Journal of Ethics or associated with individual articles of the journal are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent those of the AMA or the AMA Journal of Ethics. Care should be taken so that content is not displayed out of context, is not incomplete or misleading, and does not suggest that contributors’ opinions are those of the AMA.

Visit the AMA Journal of Ethics at https://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/home