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J Med Biogr. 2009 May;17(2):106-10. doi: 10.1258/jmb.2008.008042.

Kaethe Kollwitz (1867-1945): the artist who may have suffered from Alice in Wonderland Syndrome.

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Faculty of Engineering, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.


Kaethe Kollwitz was a 20th century German artist who grew to fame for her socio-political impressions of Germany during World Wars I and II. In her diary, Kollwitz self-described symptoms of Alice in Wonderland Syndrome during her childhood. She complained of episodes where objects appeared to grow larger or smaller and perceptual distortions where she felt she was diminishing in size. This may explain why Kollwitz's artistic style appeared to shift from naturalism to expressionism, and why her artistic subjects are often shaped with large hands and faces. The distortion present in her visual art may have less to do with a deliberate emphasis of the artist's feelings and more to do with her perceptual experience.

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