Tag Archives: Galen

The striking social tableaux vivants of Lejaren à Hiller (1920s to 1940s)

J.T.H. Connor St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada   A social tableau vivant by Lejaren à Hiller dated 1935 illustrating his characteristic dramatic photographic style and striking compositions depicting a medical hero, the human body, and often religious icons. The signature of the photographer/artist is visible in the lower left corner of the image. From “Sutures in […]

Gouty quotes

JMS Pearce  Hull, England   Fig. 1 A decrepit man screaming in pain from gout, rheumatism and catarrh; represented as three tormenting devils. Coloured etching by J. Cawse, 1809, after G.M. Woodward. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) The recent reproduction of G. Cruikshank’s A self-indulgent man afflicted with gout by a demon burning […]

Giovanni Boccaccio on pandemics past and present

Constance Markey Chicago, IL   The plague of Florence, 1348; an episode in the Decameron by Boccaccio. Etching by L. Sabatelli the elder after G. Boccaccio. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)) Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) is universally celebrated for his masterpiece The Decameron, an appealing assemblage of one hundred loosely connected novellas, […]

Wet nursing: a historical perspective

Mariella Scerri Mellieha, Malta   A Russian wet nurse, c. 1913. Painted by Frederic de Haenen public domain via Wikimedia. Wet nursing, a form of breastfeeding provided by someone other than an infant’s biological mother,1 has a long and sometimes controversial history. Death in childbirth, a mother’s illness, as well as cultural habits and circumstance […]

Ambroise Pare: standard bearer for barber-surgery reform

Mildred Wilson Detroit, MI   Ambroise Pare, Posthumous, Fantasy Portrait by William Holl. Public Domain “There are five duties of surgery: to remove what is superfluous, to restore what has been dislocated, to separate what has grown together, to reunite what has been divided, and to redress the defects of nature.” -Ambroise Pare1 For centuries, […]

The leech makes a comeback

Meryl Sigaton City of Silay, Philippines   This image of the Hirudo Medicinalis (European Medicinal Leech) was photographed latching on to the human skin. Source The anterior and posterior suckers of the European Medicinal Leech is clearly visible in this image. Source Four (4) medicinal leeches were photographed on a human hand to show comparison […]

Bloody art

Francesca Portante d’Alessandro Rome, Italy   Crucifix, 1290, Giotto di Bondone, tempera on wood, Florence. Source. Blood has always been depicted in art, from cavemen’s hunts, to medieval altarpieces and battle scenes, to modern film and photography. Blood is able to simultaneously represent both life and death, the sacred and profane, violence and martyrdom, disease […]

There is power in the blood

Mark Tan Northwest Deanery, UK   Vue du Cimetiere de Melegnano – le lendemain du Combat. [View of the Cemetery at Melegnano – the aftermath of combat.] “Carne fa carne e vino fa sango” [Meat makes flesh and wine makes blood] – Italian proverb Laura was covered in blood when the paramedics arrived at her […]

Joseph Andrews by Henry Fielding and the reputation of the medical profession 1742

Sally Metzler Chicago, Illinois, United States     In his first published novel from 1742, Henry Fielding chronicles the journey and foibles of three principle characters: the amenable Parson Adams, the so-called beautiful wench Fanny, and her paramour Joseph Andrews—the namesake of the novel.1 Adventures and misadventures befall the young protagonist Andrews, none the least […]

Berengario da Carpi, pre-Vesalian anatomist (1460-1530)

Berengario da Carpi was the most important anatomist of the generation preceding the so-called Anatomical Trinity of Vesalius, Fallopio, and Eustachio. He is regarded as one of the founders of scientific anatomy, challenging the reliance on ancient texts and emphasizing the primacy of direct observation based on dissecting the human body. A prolific author, he […]