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January 7, 1998

Interpreting Art and Poetry in JAMA: In the Eye of the Beholder

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1998;279(1):19-20. doi:10.1001/jama.279.1.17

To the Editor.—Having enjoyed Dr Southgate's discussions of the various JAMA covers, I found her analysis of the painting by Henri Gervex1 and the comparison with the works of Thomas Eakins especially intriguing. Southgate mentions that in the works of Eakins "all eyes are nevertheless on the patient," whereas in the painting by Gervex, "on the other hand, all eyes are on the surgeon." I would submit that the illustration shows an exception—the gentleman seated on the patient's left side. This person appears to be intently observing the young lady, even holding her right wrist, perhaps checking the pulse. The object in his right hand might be a gauze pad used in the administration of an anesthetic vapor.