Thomas Eakins’ paintings, The Gross Clinic and The Agnew Clinic, are realist depictions of 19th century surgeries. Compare Eakins’ image of 19th century surgery with a 21st century media image...

  • Thomas Eakins’ paintings, The Gross Clinic and The Agnew Clinic, are realist depictions of 19th century surgeries. Compare Eakins’ image of 19th century surgery with a 21st century media image you have seen of a medical innovation. Explain what you believe is the purpose of these kinds of graphic depictions of medical procedures.

 

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currerbell's profile pic

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While this is not exactly a "medical procedure" image, I believe that the traveling exhibition "Bodies: The Exhibition" serves largely the same function as did Eakins' surgery paintings. 

These bodies (gruesomely, the cadavers of Chinese prisoners) show specimens stripped of skin to reveal the intricate network of muscles, organs, and bones. Among the bodies are those of athletes posed in frozen movement and a pregnant woman with her fetus in utero. 

The purpose of "Bodies" is to educate the public about the internal workings of humans, thus making it somewhat akin to Eakin's work. 

Sources:

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