Lucas van Leyden: ear surgery

This surgeon is shown operating on the ear of a young man in an environment quite different from a modern surgical suite. He may be merely lancing a boil, but his patient looks unhappy. It is also obvious from their clothes that there is quite a difference in class between the two. With his fur lined coat and intricate sleeves, the surgeon looks prosperous. The patient wears less ornate clothes and may be a poor laborer. The artist, Lucas upon Leiden (1494-1533), was an early Netherlandish genre painter and famous engraver so highly appreciated that some writers rated him above the famous Albrecht Dürer.

A surgeon prepares to cut his patient's ear
The Surgeon. Lucas van Leyden. 1524. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 

 


 

Fall 2019  |  Hektorama  |  Surgery