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Dissection of a Malefactor

Painted in 1709 by Dutch artist Adriaen van der Groes, this scene shows a body being dissected. The central figure is probably Scottish physician Archibald Pitcairne and the other characters are likely to be portraits of other medical men of the time. There are a variety of symbolic features in the painting that suggest it is also a ‘mememto mori’, a reminder of death, such as the hour glass resting on the body and death standing on the right hand pillar.

This painting can be seen in one of the first cases when entering the History of Surgery Museum.

Dissection of a Malefactor
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