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A surgeon extracting the stone of folly. Oil painting by Pieter Huys, ca. 1561.

  • Huys, Pieter, 1519-1581.
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Credit: A surgeon extracting the stone of folly. Oil painting by Pieter Huys, ca. 1561. Wellcome Collection. Public Domain Mark

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About this work


Pictures of a surgeon making an incision in a patient's head in order to extract a stone were first collected by Henry Meige, who called the subject "pierre de tête". The pictures do not record an actual operation, but are allegorical scenes referring to the subduction of 'folly' (madness) from the body as if it were something that could be cured by surgery



Physical description

1 painting : oil on wood ; wood 106 x 133.5 cm

References note

W. Schupbach, 'A new look at the cure of folly', Medical history, 1978, 22: 267-281
Charles G. Gross, '"Psychosurgery" in Renaissance art', TINS Trends in neurosciences, 1999, 22: 429-431


Wellcome Library no. 45046i


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