"The Gross Clinic" (1875) by Thomas Eakins

This big oil on canvas (243.8 x 198.1 cm) by Thomas Eakins is a "gift of the Alumni Association to Jefferson Medical College in 1878 and purchased by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2007 with the generous support of more than 3,500 donors, 2007.

Dr. Samuel David Gross appears in the surgical amphitheater at Jefferson Medical College, lit by the skylight overhead. Five doctors (one of whom is obscured by Dr. Gross) attend to the young patient, whose cut left thigh, bony buttocks, and sock-clad feet are all that is visible to the viewer. Chief of Clinic Dr. James M. Barton bends over the patient, probing the incision, while junior assistant Dr. Charles S. Briggs grips the patient's legs and Dr. Daniel M. Appel keeps the incision open with a retractor. The anesthetist (Dr. W. Joseph Hearn) holds a folded napkin soaked with chloroform over the patient's face, while the clinic clerk (Dr. Franklin West) records the proceedings. A woman at the left, traditionally identified as the patient's mother, cringes and shields her eyes, unable to look. Confident of the outcome of the operation, Dr. Gross calmly and majestically turns to address his students, including the intent figure of Thomas Eakins, who is seated at the right edge of the canvas"1.


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