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The Cover
February 25, 2009

Wall of Light

JAMA. 2009;301(8):805. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.203

The painter Sean Scully (1945-    ) was born into a working-class family in Dublin, Ireland. When he was 4 years old, his family emigrated to London to find work. His father was a barber and his mother sang in a vaudeville theater. They took in lodgers to help pay the rent. Scully was enrolled in a convent school, which he found intriguing and mysterious, with dramatic artworks on the walls, but the nuns did not approve of his father’s working on Sundays and allegedly told the boy that the devil would move in under his bed. Scully became afraid of the dark. His mother transferred him to a state school that was, in Scully's words, “full of emptiness and violence.” About that time, he decided he was going to be an artist someday, because he had no interest in a conventional life.