Max Ernst: Men will know nothing of this, 1923. Oil on canvas, London, Tate Gallery.

Sigmund Freud said, “Visual thought is closer to the unconscious event than verbal thought, it is older than the latter.” If that’s true, I wonder what Max Ernst was thinking when he created this work of art. Ernst was a self-taught painter and an artist in the Dada Movement. He believed that nothing made sense so he was against everything. You might say that Ernst was a rebel with a paintbrush. Ernst was interested at an early stage in the artistic creations of the mentally ill. He served in the First World War, and was deeply affected by his experiences during the war.

I learn a lot about my patients by looking at their artwork. Stop and take the time to look at your patients’ drawings the next time they bring them to the nurses station.