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Art + History: The Gross Clinic by Thomas Eakins

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Art + History: The Gross Clinic by Thomas Eakins

Daytime Program

Noon Lecture/Seminar

Wednesday, August 5, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET
Code: 1K0017
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
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  • This program is part of our Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
  • Platform: Zoom
  • Online registration is required.
  • For multiple registrations, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses.

Great art is timeless, and speaks to us across time, culture and space. Yet great works come from real people living real lives—whether their work was made 5 minutes or 500 years ago. Popular Smithsonian Associates speaker Paul Glenshaw looks at great works of art in their historical context. He delves into the time of the artist, explores the present they inhabited, and what shaped their vision and creations.

Before the Civil War, there were few medical colleges and a wide range of methods of qualifying as a “doctor.” The war created a vast number of patients, and the need for professional, science-based training became paramount. Dr. Samuel Gross was one of the nation’s leading surgeons before and during the war, and when Thomas Eakins painted him in the operating room 10 years after its close, his reputation as a leading medical educator was unparalleled. The transformation and rise of American medical education were taking root, much as professional art education was at the same time. Eakins went to Paris to study, as did many other American artists and scientists, becoming a renowned professor at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

Glenshaw examines the moment Eakins captured in his monumental painting, The Gross Clinic, how it reveals what it meant to study art and medicine at the time, and how education in these fields became American.

Glenshaw is an artist, educator, author, and filmmaker with more than 25 years' experience working across disciplines in the arts, history, and sciences. He teaches drawing for Smithsonian Associates and studied painting at Washington University in St. Louis.

World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit*

Art and History Lectures

If you are interested in additional Art + History lectures, view the upcoming schedule:

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*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1/2 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.