Joseph Lister bas-relief

The marmoreal bas-relief, which alludes to Joseph Lister, occupies the gable of one of the main facades of the Policlinico Umberto I of Rome: that of the 4th Surgical Clinic.

In 1890, the name and the method of Joseph Lister had to be already well known also by Italian doctors, if during the World Congress of Medicine, held in Berlin, Professor Guido Baccelli announced to the English surgeon that Italy wanted to celebrate his work with a bas-relief in the new main hospital of Rome.

In the foreground of the bas-relief Joseph Lister is standing beside a patient recently operated, and he is exposing the case to the auditorium, while his assistants, in the background, are committed in various tasks.

Every one wears a white, fluent, linen shirt, a garment that Lister and his team have never worn, but the artist wanted to represent according to the classic style of the time.

The tribute, which Italian people gave Joseph Lister when he was already a celebrity, is more eloquent and more significant if we consider that the bas-relief was carved when he was still alive.

  • Photos by Alessia Guarnera (24 December 2009)


- Luca Borghi, "An early monumental tribute to Joseph Lister in Rome". in BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL (2012) Published on-line: 3 Dec 2012
- M. Timio, Lister, fondatore della Chirurgia moderna, La Scuola, Brescia 1981, pp.49-55.

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