Portraits of Physicians

PORTRAITS OF PHYSICIANS

Octobre 2012                    André J. Fabre            

ortraits of physicians : coming back from the past (Summary)

 Until 16th Century, Physicians had always been portrayed, on paintings, frescoes and statues, as anonymous practitioners. Since that time, a vast amount of portraits has come down to us. In the Library of the Academy of Medicine alone, are registered more than 7000 documents (portraits, photographs, heliographies and caricatures).

Most remarkable are the portraits of Samuel Pozzi, Elizabeth Blackwell, Adrien Proust and Louis Vaquez.

Portraits of Physicians at work hold a special interest (Péan, Doyen, Charcot).

The gallery of Physicians-writers holds a long list of names, from Henri Mondor, Louis-Ferdinand Céline to Jean Reverzy.

In many cases portraying a physician can be seen as a mere formal pretext (portraits of Nicolas Tulp by Rembrandt, Hans Haustein by Christian Schad and Devaraigne by Modigliani).

Ancient caricatures are always fascinating and physicians rank first in the list (Ricord, Freud, Doyen).

As final touch, comes the confrontation between patients and their own doctor (Edward Munch, Goya) and the wide array of Physicians' self-portraits (Louis Lacaze, Christian Labrousse and Carlo Levi)

Portraits of physicians are not only mirrors for medicine but also for society, bringing back, from past centuries, the full truth of human nature.

 

a.fabre.fl@gmail.com

 

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