The Gross Clinic by Thomas Eakins


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The Gross Clinic by Thomas Eakins

"The Gross Clinic," also known as "The Clinic of Dr. Gross," was crafted in 1875 by the American artist Thomas Eakins. This masterpiece is an oil painting on canvas and boasts dimensions of 8 feet (240 cm) in height and 6.5 feet (200 cm) in width.

In this compelling artwork, the central figure is Dr. Samuel D. Gross, a distinguished seventy-year-old professor garbed in a somber black frock coat. He is engrossed in delivering a lecture to a gathering of students from Jefferson Medical College. Notably, Eakins himself is featured within the composition, positioned on the right side of the painting near the tunnel railing. In this self-portrait, Eakins is depicted with a white-cuffed sleeve, engrossed in either sketching or writing. Dr. Franklin West, the clinic clerk, can be observed over Dr. Gross's right shoulder, diligently recording notes during the medical procedure.

Eakins's signature adorns the front of the surgical table, adding a personal touch to this remarkable piece of art.

The Gross Clinic - Painting Details

Renowned for its unyielding commitment to realism, "The Gross Clinic" occupies a significant place in the annals of medical history. This is attributed to its dual role in celebrating the emergence of surgery as a healing profession—a departure from the previously associated amputation, notorious for its grave medical consequences, sometimes resulting in the patient's demise. Additionally, the artwork provides a window into the surgical theaters of the nineteenth century.

The painting itself is based on an actual surgery observed by Eakins, wherein Dr. Gross treated a young man afflicted with femoral osteomyelitis. Notably, the image captures Gross's performance of a conservative surgical procedure, a departure from the prevalent practice of amputation.

Within this gripping portrayal, surgeons, cloaked in their frock coats, encircle the anesthetized patient. This scene predates the adoption of a hygienic surgical environment (as seen in asepsis). Consequently, "The Gross Clinic" is often juxtaposed with Eakins's later work, "The Agnew Clinic" (1889), which portrays a more pristine and well-lit surgical theater, with participants adorned in "white coats." This comparison highlights the advancements in understanding the prevention of infections over time. Noteworthy in the later painting is the presence of a professional nurse, Mary Clymer, within the operating theater.

While the depicted patient in "The Gross Clinic" is assumed to be a teenage boy, the exposed body does not distinctly reveal a male or female identity. The painting astonishes viewers with its peculiar presentation of this figure and the unembellished gruesomeness of the procedure.

Amplifying the drama is the sole woman in the composition, positioned in the middle ground, potentially the patient's mother, visibly distressed. Her dramatic presence sharply contrasts with the composed and professional demeanor of the men attending to the patient. This vivid and forthright portrayal of surgery was, at the time of its debut, profoundly shocking to audiences.

Thomas Eakins - artist Profile

Thomas Cowperthwait Eakins (July 25, 1844 – June 25, 1916) was an American realist painter, photographer, sculptor, and fine arts educator. He is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important American artists

Available as a fine art print and as a stretched canvas panel (heavy fine art canvas stretched over 1.5 inch deep edge solid wood frame).

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All prints are made using archival art stocks and UV pigment inks to give up to 200 years life. Prints are sold unframed and unmounted.



All orders for unframed fine art prints and original paintings are dispatched within 2 working days of receipt of payment.

Orders for custom framed prints are dispatched within 4 working days.

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Size and Printed Materials

Fine art papers are printed without any additional white border Please let us know at the time of ordering if you would like a small additional white border.

Rolled canvas options have an additional white border of approximately 2.5 inches (7cm) on all 4 sides to aid stretching.

Ready to hang canvas panels are stretched on 1.5 inch deep solid pine frames from sustainable forestry sources. The image is mirrored on all 4 sides to give an aesthetically pleasing finish.

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Have your gift wrapped

Why not have us gift wrap your order and attach a personalised message to the recipient. Available for all orders. Each order is hand wrapped in high quality gift wrap with meatllic ribbon and bow. Your personalised message is printed on a card which is included with your order.

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This was a present for my wife and she loves it. The quality is very good. Thanks for your excellent service.

Fantastic packaging and a stunning print. Thank you!

Great quality and a good idea to include a 'free gift' mini-pic to show what the other finishes are like.

Really excellent print quality! I have just had my print framed and it looks great thank you

This arrived quickly and is great quality, thank you! :)

My art print arrived quickly and in excellent condition! Very high quality print! Thank you!!

love my print! Very fast professional service Thank you very much

I ordered the canvas panel as a gift for my sister and she was delighted the canvas is really good quality and perfectly stretched. The finish on the back was really profesionally done too

Amazing print well printed and a reasonable price

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