Title Mastectomy. Drawing attributed to a Dutch artist, 17th century.
Imprint [Place of publication not identified], [between 1600 and 1699]


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Physical description 1 drawing : pen and grey ink and grey wash within brown ink framing lines ; sheet 9.9 x 12.8 cm
Summary The operator excises the breast with the "tenaculum helvetianum", presumably to remove breast cancer. His assistant has a case of lancets etc. attached to his belt. A set of cautery irons is smouldering on a stand on the left. The patient is seated, held by two men: she appears to be fainting. On the right, a man in a tall hat points towards her: he is possibly meant to be a physician
The instrument used by the operator is the "tenaculum helvetianum" (tenette helvétienne), as described by Jean-Adrien Helvetius in Traité des pertes de sang .. accompagné de sa lettre sur la nature et guérison du cancer, Paris 1697, pp. 153-155 and folding plate f.p. 153; L. Heister, Institutiones chirurgicae, Amsterdam 1739, vol. 2, pp. 740-741 and tab. XXIII fig. 1. A similar instrument is used by Saint Agatha's torturer in an earlier (ca. 1600?) engraving by Philips Galle
Cite as Wellcome Library no. 528470i
Note Possibly drawn for reproduction in an emblem book, to illustrate efficacious action. A similar scene (but a different composition, by Romein de Hooghe) is included in 'Het voorhof der ziele' by Frans van Hoogstraten (Rotterdam 1668), p. 134, to illustrate the motto "Non multis verbis opus est, sed efficacibus" (Seneca, Epistulae 38)
Topic-LCSH Breast -- Cancer.
Operations, Surgical.
Cautery.
Cancer -- Surgery.
Mastectomy.
Copy photo no. L 31627
System no. .b15284700
Record no. 528470i