These four images show an interesting progression in the perception of a doctor – from saint to satan.
- In the first picture the doctor is heaven sent – there are broken bones to mend, patients in extremis
- In the second he is hard at work – seen as a ministering angel
- By picture number three his work is done, his patients restored to health
- But in picture four we discover how he is seen when the bills are due – the devil incarnate
These pictures, painted in the early 1600’s, are part of the collection of the Museum Boerhaave in Leiden in the Netherlands (the Dutch National Museum of Science and Medicine) – you can visit the website here (or click on any of the pictures.)
These pictures form the frontispiece of Kenneth Calman’s book ‘Medical Education Past Present and Future’, I thought they were fabulous and a great reminder that the image of ‘the doctor’ is never fixed and not always positive!