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Mesmeric Therapy

Photo credit: Wellcome Library

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Franz Anton Mesmer (1734–1815) introduced a system of therapy ('animal magnetism' or 'mesmerism') based on the theory that the body was analogous to a magnet. At first in Vienna (1768–1778) and later in Paris (1778–1784) he turned the theory into practice by constructing a large tub (a 'baquet') from which magnetised fluids were dispensed to patients through pipes and ropes applied to diseased parts of the body.

  • Date

    1778–1784 (?)

  • Medium

    oil on canvas

  • Measurements

    60.5 x 76.2 cm

  • Accession number


  • Acquisition method

    purchased by Henry S. Wellcome, c.1900–1936


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