- 1500 CE - 1699 CE (4)
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- Costumes (2)
- Human anatomy (2)
- Human skeleton (2)
- Oil paintings (2)
- Plague (2)
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- Cosmas, Saint (1)
- Crick, Francis, 1916-2004 (1)
- DNA (1)
- Damian, Saint (died around 303) (1)
- Double helix (1)
- Dreams (1)
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- Etchings (1)
- Gachet, Paul Ferdinand, 1828-1909 (1)
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- Gogh, Vincent van, 1853-1890 (1)
- Herbal remedies (1)
- Herbals (1)
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- Leg (1)
- Leg -- Transplantation (1)
- Manchus (1)
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- Watercolors (1)
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- Wellcome, Henry S. (Henry Solomon), Sir, 1853-1936 (1)
- Women (1)
Type of Item
Paul Ferdinand Gachet. Etching by V. van Gogh, 1890
Paul Ferdinand Gachet (1828-1909) was a maverick physician who practiced what later came to be called complementary or alternative medicine. He had a consulting room in Paris to which he commuted from his house in Auvers-sur-Oise outside the city. He was an art lover--an amateur artist, art collector, and a friend of many artists, one of whom was the eccentric Dutchman Vincent Van Gogh (1853-90). Gachet and Van Gogh only knew each other for a couple of months: from May 20, 1890, when Van Gogh arrived to stay in a ...
The muscles of the left leg, seen from the front, and the bones and muscles of the right leg seen in right profile, and between them, a patella. Drawing by Michelangelo Buonarroti, ca. 1515-1520.
These drawings of the human leg are by the artist Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), whose studies of anatomy are recorded by his earliest biographers, Vasari (1550) and Condivi (1553). Michelangelo reportedly first dissected a cadaver in Florence around 1495, after he had been commissioned to sculpt a crucifix of wood for the church of Santo Spirito. The prior of the church gave him rooms in which he could, by dissection, learn how to render convincingly the muscles of the dying Christ. His last witnessed dissection occurred in Rome in 1548. Such ...
Henry Solomon Wellcome: three-quarter length. Oil painting by Hugh Goldwin Riviere, 1906.
Henry S. Wellcome was born in 1853 to a poor farm family in Almond, Wisconsin. Upon his death in 1936, the Wellcome Trust, a British charity, was created. Many years later, it became the most highly endowed charity in the world, with assets of 15 billion pounds. Wellcome owed this achievement to his success as a pharmaceutical manufacturer and salesman. After training as a pharmacist at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, he went to England in 1880 to join his college friend S. Mainville Burroughs in a new pharmaceutical company ...
A verger's dream: Saints Cosmas and Damian performing a miraculous cure by transplantation of a leg. Oil painting attributed to the Master of Los Balbases, ca. 1495.
Saints Cosmas and Damian were early Christian martyrs who, according to legend, practiced medicine without payment and therefore were represented to the public as medical ideals. In this Spanish altarpiece, the saints appear in a vision, dressed in the full finery of academic doctors as they perform the miracle of transplanting a leg. The vision is described in a book of 1275 by Jacobus de Voragine, Legenda aurea (The golden legend). The vision was received in the Church of Saints Cosmas and Damian, in Rome, by a verger who had ...
Sketch of the DNA Double Helix by Francis Crick
The iconic image of the double helix--the twisted ladder that carries the codes for earth's huge variety of life forms–goes back to 1953 and the homemade metal model created by the British scientist Francis Crick and his American collaborator, James Watson. Determined to solve the puzzle posed by the research evidence at the time, they obtained new insights by visualizing the structure of the complex molecule through a physical model. This pencil sketch of DNA was made by Crick and forms part of the extensive Crick Archive at ...
A Woman Dropping Her Tea-cup in Horror upon Discovering the Monstrous Contents of a Magnified Drop of Thames Water Revealing the Impurity of London Drinking Water
This 1828 caricature shows a woman looking into a microscope to observe the monsters swimming in a drop of London water. In the 1820s, much of London’s drinking water came from the Thames River, which was heavily polluted by the city sewers that emptied into it. A Commission on the London Water Supply that was appointed to investigate this situation issued a report in 1828, which resulted in various improvements. The five water companies that served the north bank of the river upgraded the quality of their water by ...
A Physician Wearing a Seventeenth Century Plague Preventive Costume
This watercolor painting depicts the costume worn by physicians attending plague patients in the 17th century. The costume was described by Jean Jacques Manget (1652-1742) in his Traité de la peste (Treatise on the plague), published in Geneva in 1721. The costume’s gown was made of morocco leather, underneath which was worn a skirt, breeches, and boots, all of leather and fitting into one another. The long beak-like nose piece was fitted with aromatic substances and the eyeholes were covered with glass. The plague is an infectious disease, caused ...
China: A Manchu Bride
This photograph by the great Scottish traveler, geographer, and photographer John Thomson (1837-1921) shows a young woman of the Manchu ethnic group in her wedding dress. She is dressed in a richly embroidered costume and a large floral headdress with tassels. Her face is powdered white. As an ethnographer, Thomson took many photographs of brides in lavish costumes, but he also expressed a gloomy view of the brides’ future lives, which he compared to slavery. "No Manchu maiden can be betrothed until she is fourteen years of age. Usually some ...
Herbals are directories of plants, their properties, and their medicinal uses. Herbals most likely were at first not illustrated, but in late antiquity they acquired illustrations. This fragment of a leaf from an illustrated herbal from Hellenistic Egypt shows a plant that is possibly Symphytum officinale, or comfrey. The herbal is made of papyrus, a plant that flourished in the valley of the Nile, and the text is in Greek, the language of science throughout the eastern Mediterranean at this time. The fragment is probably from a copy of the ...
Recipe Book of Lady Ann Fanshawe
Lady Ann Fanshawe (1625-80) was the wife of Sir Richard Fanshawe (1608-66), a loyal follower of Charles I. The Fanshawes suffered imprisonment and exile following the execution of Charles in 1649 and the establishment of the Commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell. When the monarchy was restored in 1660, Sir Richard was appointed ambassador to Madrid, the first permanent overseas embassy maintained by the Crown. This book originally belonged to Lady Ann and contains medical, culinary, and other recipes. The earliest entries date from 1651 and are in the hand of one ...
Anatomical Fugitive Sheets of a Skeleton, Male Figure and a Female Figure
These woodcut anatomical sheets of male and female figures, published in Germany in 1573, reflect the state of anatomical knowledge at that time. The explanatory texts on each sheet are in Latin, with some names of anatomical parts also given in Greek. The sheets use movable flaps that can be raised to show cut-aways of the viscera attached beneath. The sheets have accessory figures that depict various parts of the body, with corresponding explanatory texts.