A physician taking the pulse of a young woman, while an old maid prepares gruel for her. Oil painting by Quirin Gerritsz. van Brekelenkam.
- Brekelenkam, Quiringh Gerritsz., approximately 1620-1668
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About this work
The patient, sitting in the centre, wears a white bonnet, a red cape lined with white fur, and a yellow satin dress. In her left hand she holds a letter, while her right she holds out to the physician who takes her pulse. On the right is a table covered with a Turkey rug: on it is the bowl of gruel which the old maid prepares, together with a pewter ewer and a dish. In the background, a bed with a canopy and curtains, and on the wall a landscape painting in a black frame
The physician's costume in pictures such as this has been identified by Gudlaugsson as archaic: in the hands of humorous painters like Jan Steen, such an archaism would no doubt have been satirical, but here it seems to be more respectful. The physician's practice--diagnosis from the speed, rhythm, and strength of the pulse--is derived from venerable ancient sources, and the physician is portrayed as someone who would have mastered the subtleties of the ancient writings
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Location Status AccessOn Exhibition