Interior with a surgeon and his apprentice attending to a patient. Oil painting by Jan Josef Horemans, 1722.
- Horemans, Jan Josef, 1682-1759
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About this work
Jan Josef Horemans was the leading painter of everyday life in Antwerp in the first half of the 18th century, and was master of the Antwerp painters' guild in 1706. With the aid of various tricks of composition, his pictures present a vivid account of episodes in private houses, inns and courtyards--in this case a surgeon's house to which a man has come to be treated. The surgeon, with his back to the viewer, takes charge of the case, while his apprentice, wearing a red jacket, starts work on the manual treatment of the patient. He makes an incision just below the right armpit of the patient, who reacts to express his pain. Could the surgeon be lancing the bubo of bubonic plague? On the right is an agitated woman, who may be either a distressed relative of the injured man or the next patient waiting her turn
Above right, shelves holding vessels which contain oils, balms and unguents for use in surgery. Over the door in the right background is a wall-mounted chest of surgical instruments. The good supply of equipment is explained by the fact that city surgeons were respectable and well-paid professionals, members of a guild who had passed through the stages of apprentice and journeyman to become a master surgeon. The calendar on the back wall is dated 1722, which is assumed to be the date of the painting
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