Tag Archives: Syphilis

Phillipe Gaucher (1854-1918)

Philippe Charles Ernest Gaucher. Via Wikimedia. In the days when syphilis was rampant in Europe and diagnostic modalities few, many unrelated medical conditions were erroneously attributed to it. There was, for example, the distinguished professor of syphilology and dermatology at the Hôpital Saint-Antoine and the University of Paris, who “aggressively promoted” the idea that poliomyelitis […]

Heinrich Heine and the mattress tomb

Nicolás Roberto Robles  Badajoz, Spain   Harry Heine was born in Bolkerstrasse, Düsseldorf, Germany. He jokingly described himself as the “first man of the century,” claiming that he had been born on New Year’s Eve 1800. Researchers have discovered, however, that December 13, 1797, is most likely the date of his birth. The oldest of […]

The last illness of Édouard Manet

George Dunea James L. Franklin Chicago, Illinois   A Bar at the Folies-Bergère. Édouard Manet. 1881-1882. The Courtauld Institute of Art. Accessed via Wikimedia. Édouard Manet (1832–1883) was one of the most famous modernist painters of nineteenth-century France. He painted life as creatively and elegantly as he lived in it, translating onto canvas the fashionable […]

Antonio Benivieni, early anatomist and pathologist

De abditis, or Concerning some hidden and remarkable cases of diseases and cures. The Florentine Antonio Benivieni dissected corpses and recorded his findings some seventy years before Andreas Vesalius and even more so before Batista Morgagni. Yet though he has been called the “founder of pathology,” he never achieved the fame and recognition accorded to […]

Did Macbeth have syphilis?

Eleanor J. Molloy Dublin, Ireland   Gerard De Lairesse suffered from congenital syphilis. Image: Portrait of Gerard de Lairesse. Rembrandt van Rijn. 1665–67. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Public Domain. Introduction Syphilis was endemic in Elizabethan England and it was estimated that nearly 20% of the population of London were infected.1 The signs and symptoms […]

The woman doctor as medical and moral authority: Helen Brent MD

Carol-Ann Farkas Boston, Massachussetts, United States   In the late nineteenth century, many women who dared to study and practice medicine tempered that radical move with the reassuring insistence that, by virtue of their sex, they could combine medical knowledge with feminine, maternal guidance for the physical and moral well-being of their patients. The gender […]

The Plague of Ashdod, by Nicholas Poussin

The Plague of Ashdod, Poussin’s famous painting of 1630, is based on the Old Testament account of an epidemic affecting the Philistines after they had captured the Ark of the Covenant from the Israelites and moved it to their coastal city of Ashdod. According to Samuel 1:5, the Lord first destroyed the statue of their […]

“Moonlight” and silence

Anne Jacobson Oak Park, Illinois, United States   Woman at the Piano. 1875/76. Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The Art Institute of Chicago. At seventeen, I knew little about the limitations or losses that might cause a person to second-guess a vocation, deeply held belief, or identity. Perhaps those questions about the unknowable future inhabit the soul of […]

Smetana, his music, his illness

Bedřich (Frederic) Smetana was one of the major figures of nineteenth century European music. Regarded as the founder of the Czech national school of music, he composed The Bartered Bride opera and the symphonic poem “Má Vlast” (My Homeland) with its beloved Vlatava (The Moldau) melody. Like Ludwig van Beethoven, he composed exceptional music even […]

Maria Lorenza Longo and the birth of the “Incurabili” Hospital in Naples

Marco Luchetti Milano, Italy   Maria Lorenza Longo. Source In the Middle Ages hospitals were charitable institutions that took care of those that could not afford a doctor at home, such as the poor, elderly, orphans, and single mothers. In Naples there was an urgent need for a large facility with many doctors where “incurable” […]