The countries of Europe representing physicians and surgeons trying to regenerate a woman personifying the Dutch republic. Etching attributed to James Gillray, 1796, after David Hess.
- Hess, David, 1770-1843.
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About this work
In the centre sits a distressed woman wearing a bonnet marked "Rep: Bat" (Batavian republic): her breasts are exposed, her feet are placed in a tub of water, and her right arm is being phlebotomised by a surgeon who has placed his lancet on her knee. The blood spouts from the inside of her elbow as if an artery had been pierced instead of a vein. Left, an officer holding a clyster under his arm; behind, a man with chequered trousers (hence a zany, companion to a quack doctor) holding up a staff of Aesculapius and a medicine bottle marked "Tinct. Univer."; right, a corpulent physician taking the woman's pulse by embracing her left arm while holding something in his mouth (pipe? pomander? top of cane?); behind, a man crossing his index finger and thumb (the gesture used by figures in paintings by Jan Steen to imply that a woman attended by a physician is sex-starved); right foreground, a man who has in his pocket a book entitled "Traité sur la Reconnaissance": he is identified in the British Museum catalogue as "'Citoyen L' who owes everything to the ex-Stadholder". On the ground is a prescription "R
One of the figures is a portrait of a surgeon called Löörs (Eschmann p. 69): possibly he is the "Citoyen L" mentioned above