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Taking Lessons From a Bloody Masterpiece


These last two months I’ve grown obsessed with one American painting: a bloody masterpiece of pain and healing, made in Philadelphia nearly a century and a half ago. Thomas Eakins (1844-1916) was still a young artist when he completed “The Gross Clinic,” an in-action, up-to-the-minute depiction of the vanguard of American medicine that feels particularly relevant right now.