early 19th century
PAIR OF BUSTS OF GALEN AND HIPPOCRATES
each signed and dated Reverand. sculpsit. Orelianinsis. 1819
Hippocrates inscribed Né à Pergame l'an 131 de J.C. Mort dans la même ville vers l'an 210 de J.C.; and Galen inscribed Né à Coos (une des isles des Ciclades) environ 460 ans avant Jesus Christ. Mort à Larisse en Thessalie à l’age de 109 ans
height: 42cm., 16½in. and 44cm., 17⅜in.
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Overall the condition is very good with minor dirt and wear to the surface consistent with age. The busts appear to have undergone recent cleaning. There appear to be a few minor chips along the edges. There are a few very minor original firing cracks, including at the truncation on the proper left side of Hippocrates. There are a few very minor surface scratches and abrasions.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot provided by Sotheby's. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot's actual colour and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation because Sotheby's is not a professional conservator or restorer but rather the condition report is a statement of opinion genuinely held by Sotheby's. For that reason, Sotheby's condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot.
Sotheby’s, Paris, 5 May 2015, lot 292
This elegant pair of busts of the great medical theorists of antiquity, Galen and Hippocrates, would doubtless have once been placed in a physician’s office or in a scholar’s library. Galen was the foremost physician to have lived during the Roman Empire. His writings are so extensive that they comprise one-eighth of all surviving Greek literature. This perhaps underscores the practical significance given to his teachings by later generations of scribes. Galen was responsible for many of the practices which underpin medical knowledge even today, including how to check a patient’s pulse. Hippocrates of Kos lived in the age of Pericles and is often called the ‘Father of Medicine’. He is, of course, best known for being credited as the creator of the ‘Hippocratic Oath’. The busts are inscribed ‘Reverand sculpsit Orelianinsis 1819’ which is perhaps a latinised way of saying ‘from Orléans’. Interestingly a sculptor called Révérend was active in Orléans in 1800, see D. Lottin, Recherches historiques sur la ville d’Orléans, Orléans, 1800, p. 319. This sculptor may have been responsible for the present busts. The busts, with their blank eyes and herm truncations, are fundamentally indebted to ancient Greek portraiture.