The Gross Clinic

Painter: Thomas Eakins

Year: 1875

This most “powerful, horrible, and fascinating” painting features a self-portrait of Eakins as the seated figure who scribbles with a writing implement that is as much scalpel as it is pen. It is based on a surgery led by Dr. Gross on the cancerous femur of a young man witnessed by Eakins. The painting was rejected for the art exhibition of the Centennial Exposition of 1876; it was relegated to ornament in the U.S. Army Hospital display.