Thomas Eakins: The Gross Clinic (1875)


(Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, USA)

A painting by the American artist Thomas Eakins (1844 – 1916). Created for Philadelphia’s 1876 Centennial Exhibition, this piece shows the surgeon Samuel David Gross (1805 – 1884) at work. Samuel Gross is shown in Jefferson Medical College’s surgical amphitheater during an operation. A group of doctors is busy with the operation on the left thigh of the patient while Samuel Gross is talking to the students in the amphitheater - he is explaining his new surgical procedure to treat bone infections. The crying woman on the left is probably the mother of the patient. Eakins himself has included him on the piece: he is on the right of the tunnel railing, sketching or writing. The realistic painting shocked the viewers of the exhibition and was for housed for a long time in the College Building of Jefferson Medical College. Painting from 1875.

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