The Gross Clinic

by Thomas Eakins

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Portrait of Dr. Samuel D. Gross (The Gross Clinic) by Thomas Eakins

Credit: Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts

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An American realist painter, photographer sculptor and fine arts educator, Thomas Eakins is best known for this exacting portraits of Philadelphia’s thinking class, and for taking the portrait out of the drawing room and into the real world. Of his several hundred portraits, The Gross Clinic is his most famous, and perhaps greatest. His largest work, it depicts Dr. Samuel D. Gross presenting a surgical lecture beside a cadaver in an amphitheater packed with Jefferson Medical College students.

The painting was purchased by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2007 with the generous support of more than 3,400 donors.