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AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH
Published in September 2019
H E K T O R A M A

 

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Episodes from the Life of a Bishop Saint by Master Of Saint Gilles
 

ARCHITECTURE AND THE FRENCH HOSPITAL

 

 

 

Parisian hospitals, like those in many European capitals, are the results of years of accretion. Hôtel-Dieu, the oldest Parisian hospital, was founded by Saint Landry in 651 and was the only hospital in Paris until the Renaissance. The 7th century saw the founding of many hôtels-dieu across France: establishments attached to religious foundations, whose purpose was to house pilgrims but also to care for those whose illness made it impossible to continue their travels. Over time the hôtels-dieu focused on treating the sick, although the Hôtel-Dieu in the center of Paris remained open to all who sought care: the sick, travellers, pregnant women, the old, and the indigent. Following the motto of Saint Landry medicus et hospes (host and doctor), the staff even admitted lepers.

 

 

By Sarah Hartley

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LA MAISON: A PALLIATIVE CARE CENTER IN FRANCE
 

Patricia, photography by Eric Breitbart

 


 

Gardanne, the last stop on the local train from Marseilles to Aix-en-Provence, was once a thriving mining center. Today, with only one hotel, a few restaurants, and no monuments worth mentioning, the town has little to entice the crowds of tourists who flock to its better-known neighbors to the north and south. Cézanne lived there for a year in the mid-1880’s, but the raw, jagged landscape that attracted the artist is now buried under cookie-cutter houses, a power plant’s massive cooling towers, and a bauxite conversion factory overshadowing the train station.

 

Dining room, photography by Eric Breitbart
Entrance hall, photography by Eric Breitbart
By Eric Breitbart READ ARTICLE

 


 

AFRICAN AMERICAN MEDICAL PIONEERS

Dorothy Lavinia Brown

 

Charitable hospitals are fairly ubiquitous worldwide and are often associated with religion. Indeed the earliest known institutes devoted to healing were Egyptian temples, followed by ancient Greek temples devoted to Asclepius. The modern idea of hospitals providing in-patient care stems from Christian charitable institutions founded following an ecumenical council, the First Council of Nicaea, in 325 AD. France has a fine tradition of generosity and philanthropy, promoted by the Catholic teaching that charity was required to receive a place in heaven. The Hospices de Beaune refers to a collection of charitable hospitals, alms houses, and orphanages – such as the Pommard and Nolay leper colonies, la Maison-Dieu at Meursault, and later the Beaune orphanage, acquired under a single administration. However L’Hôtel-Dieu stands out of the collection as being one of the finest examples of Northern Renaissance architecture, its original buildings still standing and still used as a hospital until 1971.

 

By Kate Elizabeth Shipman & Sudarshan Ramachandran

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ILLNESS OR INTOXICATION? DIAGNOSING A FRENCH CLOWN

 

 

 

In his day, Thomas Couture was a renowned history painter, though his students would later surpass him in fame—the likes of Edouard Manet and John Lafarge. Born in the small French town of Senlis, his parents moved to Paris when he was a child so he could study art. He attended there the École des Beaux-Arts, and after repeated attempts to win the Prix de Rome (which according to Couture was not his lack of talent, but the ignorance of the Academy!), he finally met with success, receiving the prize in 1837 and subsequent large mural commissions. Rebellious by nature, he opened his own school of art, pitted against the reigning academic forces in Paris. After one particularly harsh critique, he retreated to his hometown of Senlis.

This charming painting showcases not only Couture’s artistic acumen, but also his biting wit—in this instance assailing the medical professionIn The Illness of Pierrot, a foppish physician attends to his pale and wan patient Pierrot, assiduously taking his pulse …

By Sally Metzler

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CHARCOT AND HIS “GRANDES HYSTERIQUES”

 

 

 

Perhaps no other physician in history has been associated with more diseases than Jean-Martin Charcot (1825-1893). He was one of the greatest neurologists of the 19th century, instrumental in developing the systematic neurological examination based on correlating clinical features observed during life with changes found at autopsy.
At the Salpêtrière, the large hospital and asylum in Paris, Charcot made major contributions to the understanding of multiple sclerosis, motor neuron disease, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, stroke, and neurosyphilis. The many diseases or syndromes eponymously named after him include Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease (peroneal muscular atrophy); Charcot’s triad for diagnosing multiple sclerosis; Charcot-Bouchard cerebral aneurysms;

By George Dunea

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EDGAR DEGAS’ LIGHT SENSITIVITY AND ITS EFFECTS ON HIS ART

 

The celebrated nineteenth century French painter Hilaire-Germain Edgar Degas was born in Paris in 1834 to a Creole mother from New Orleans and an Italian father from Naples. In 1855 he was admitted to the École des Beaux-Arts, but the following year he went to Italy before finishing his studies. He stayed there with relatives for more than three years, studying Italian artists, particularly of the Renaissance.1,2 

On returning to Paris in 1859, he painted psychologically complex portraits of his family and friends in a romantic style and worked on a number of historical themes, before…

 

By Zeynel Karcioglu READ ARTICLE
 

THE GENERAL HOSPITAL – ALL ARE WELCOME

 

The Hôpital Général des pauvres was an organisation consisting of two sites, Bicêtre (men) and Salpêtrière (women). During the Ancien Régime (1500 – 1789) one could enter l’Hôpital – it was known and feared by this abbreviated name – in one of two ways: voluntary or enforced. Volunteers had not done anything wrong – they were known as the bons pauvres – but had no other means of life, shelter, food. Begging was not allowed; it could result in whipping or the galleys. L’Hôpital offered them a roof, bread, soup, clothing (frock style), a straw mattress (without sheets) to be shared, and no heating.

 

By Jan W.P.F. Kardaun

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GERICAULT’S ART OF INSANITY

 

Ten portraits of the insane, only five of which survive, were Géricault’s reaction to his illness: A Man Suffering from Delusions of Military Command; A Kleptomaniac; A Woman Suffering from Obsessive Envy; A Woman Addicted to Gambling (Fig.1); and A Child Snatcher. These paintings confronted society’s perception of the insane and tested the stereotypes constructed about them. Driven by concerns in altering attitudes to disease and an appetite for controversial art, his work challenged the prevailing stigma towards the mentally ill.

 

By Caitlin Meyer

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MONET AND HIS CATARACTS

 

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Monet had resisted having his cataracts operated on for many years. Was this stubbornness in the famous Impressionist or were there reasonable grounds for his decision? In 1907 he first began to have problems with his eyesight. Some experts feel that his Venice paintings show a blurring of distant objects.1

By 1912, at the age of 72, he was diagnosed with bilateral cataracts with the right being more pronounced.

 

 

By Peter kopplin

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