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Saints Cosmas and Damian practised medicine and surgery without payment according to their legend, and were therefore represented to the lay public as medical ideals. This painting shows one of the saints using a bullet extractor to remove a foreign body from a man's chest, and the other one assisting with prayer. On the table is a travelling case of surgical instruments with a lid that flips open, and to the right of it a round box partitioned to hold different ointments used in surgery.
oil on canvas
85.7 x 119.5 cm
purchased by Henry S. Wellcome, c.1900–1936
183 Euston Road, London, Greater London NW1 2BE EnglandView venue
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