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A crowd watching a troupe of quack-doctors on a stage outside an inn. Oil painting by a Flemish painter, ca. 1640(?).

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In the centre background is an inn with the inn-sign "Au monde renversé"; left, a town square, right a quack-doctor's company performing before an attentive crowd. Various stooges acting for the company are placed among the crowd to whip up their enthusiasm. On a stage, one member of the quack-doctor's troupe is claiming to apply a red-hot spatula to his thigh, producing burn-marks. Next to him the quack-doctor points to an ointment which he is holding, recommending it as an antidote to burns. Behind him is a zany or merryandrew. The backdrop to the stage is painted with scenes of the quack-doctor's remarkable cures. A woman puts her head through an opening in the backdrop, perhaps pretending to be summoned by the screams of the man who pretends to be burned.

Below, at street level, a toothdrawer is dressed in exotic costume to give the impression of bringing foreign skills from Turkey or Arabia. A crowd of people, some wealthy, others poor, look on. On the left a man on horseback, and on the far left two monks.

Photographed 2016, post-conservation, without frame.


    Credit: Wellcome Collection

    Free to use with attribution

    CC BY