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Germain Colot performing an operation for bladder stone. Lithograph by A. Rivoulon, 1851.

  • Rivoulon, Antoine, 1810-1864.
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Credit: Germain Colot performing an operation for bladder stone. Lithograph by A. Rivoulon, 1851. Wellcome Collection. Public Domain Mark

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V. and C. Nutton show that the text underlying this scene is an episode described by Jean de Roye, in B. de Mandrot, Journal de Jean de Roye, connu sous le nom de Chronique scandaleuse, 1460-1483, 2 vols., Paris: Renouard, 1894-1896, I, p. 322. It was first printed in Enguerand de Monstrelet, Chroniques, Paris: Jehan Petit and M. Le Noir, 1512. As described by De Roye, the episode took place in 1475: a member of an archers' company in Meudon had committed a crime and was sentenced to death, but as a result of a petition to Louis XI by the physicians and surgeons of Paris, was offered an escape from execution if he agreed to be anatomized alive in order to let the site of common diseases such has stone, colic, pain and sickness in the side, be scrutinised. The vivisection took place (the anatomist was not named), and the archer survived. In a later version by Jean Devaux, Index funereus chirurgorum parisiensium, Paris 1714, pp. 18-19, the operator is named as Germain Collot, though, other than by confusion with the Colot family of lithotomists, that name cannot be verified. The episode was used in the 19th century as evidence for the achievements of French surgery and for the suprapubic operation for bladder stone. The depiction by Rivoulon is described as "a picturesque vision of history designed to appeal alike to the public passions for medievalism, patriotism and surgery" (Nutton p. 422)


Paris (14 Jean-Jacques Rousseau) : A. Weil (Paris : Imp. Lemercier)

Physical description

1 print : lithograph ; image 36.9 x 46.6 cm


Première opération de la pierre faite en présence du roi Louis XI, par Germain Colot au Cimetière St. Séverin, Janvier 1474. Earliest operation for the stone performed in presence of King Louis 11th by Germain Colot in the Cimiterry of St. Severin, January 1474. Rivoulon pinx. et lith. Rivoulon 1851

References note

Vivian Nutton and Christine Nutton, 'The archer of Meudon: a curious absence of continuity in the history of medicine', Journal of the history of medicine, 2003, 58: 401-427, p. 423, pl. 1


Wellcome Library no. 23338i


  • French

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