"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25

"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25
Midnight Blue (1963): Jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell featuring Stanley Turrentine on tenor saxophone, Major Holley on double bass, Bill English on drums and Ray Barretto on conga. Midnight Blue is one of Burrell’s best-known works for Blue Note Records. In 2005, NPR included the album in its "Basic Jazz Library", describing it as "one of the great jazzy blues records".

He said, She said...

"You are not designed for everyone to like you - Wise Man Phil

FRAGILE: Sting, Yo Yo Ma, Dominic Miller & Chris Botti

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Great Physician

Heal: to make healthy, whole, or sound; restore to health; free from ailment. (2) To bring to an end or conclusion, as conflicts between people or groups, usually with the strong implication of restoring former amity; settle; reconcile: They tried to heal the rift between them but were unsuccessful.

Help. Engage. Act. Love

This past Tuesday I came across an article on the front page of the USA Today entitled, In Ark., redefining how we see American Art. The piece immediately gained my attention because of my love for art and museums. And though my house wouldn't be mistaken for an art museum, or the dwelling of a serious art collector, it is a goal of mine to someday to own a few, cool and relevant, pieces of artwork. I would also love to be in the position to give as gifts meaningful pieces of artwork to family and friends alike.


The second reason the article got my attention was because of the subtitle: "Museum is brainchild of Wal-Mart heiress." In the piece Rick Jarvis went on to explain how the $21 billion heiress, Alice Walton, and her shiny new "8 separate building" museum that totals 200,000 square feet in size, and it's $800 million endowment from the family of founders of Wal-Mart, was about to shake up the entire art world. And thought the museum is named the Crystal Bridges Museum there seems to be some bridges that have been all but burned in the art community. Many of the art community elite are disappointed at how Walton has purchased many quality and significant pieces of art at prices that simply can't realistically be matched, and for the fact that said celebrated pieces will be residing in a museum in Bentonville, Arkansas.

I say good for her.

I must add that I'm a fan of Wal-Mart. I don't shop there much, mainly because it doesn't come to mind, but what does come to mind is any U.S. business that has 8,400 stores and annual sales of $405 billion is a great thing for our country, our country's economy and for the 1.3 million people employed by Wal-Mart in the United States.

We can't have enough U.S. business' like Wal-Mart.

 Alice Walmart

Walmart's main reason for building a museum in Bentonville is to give access to more people that can't afford to travel to the expensive metropolitan destinations that are home to many of our country's great museums. 

Art should be experienced by everyone. 

New Orleans artist, and close personal friend of Walmart, Robert Tannen stated; "It's not just bringing it to a small town. It's making that art more accessible to more people," Tannen went on to say, "Why should art only be only be in these few major urban centers? Why shouldn't more Americans have access to it?"

In the end, it's not just about art. It's about the human experience.

I say bravo. Bravo indeed.
Over the past four decades Alice Walmart has been snatching up pieces of art like Derek Jeter snatches up ground-balls; often and with little difficulty. 

In 2005 Walmart purchased the Asher B. Durand's Kindred Spirit for a cool $35 million and Norman Rockwell's Rosie the Riveter.

Walmart has become a major player in the art world. Her collection boasts over 500 paintings and sculptures from the Colonial period to present day. Her works range from Charles Wilson Peale's 18th century portrait of George Washington to an Andy Warhol silkscreen of Dolly Parton.  

George Washington at the Battle of Princeton, 1781.
Charles Wilson Peale
But it was the painting that got away from Walmart that caught my eye. Upon seeing the painting for the first time it immediately became one of my favorite paintings. Hopefully, I can purchase a fine art replica oil on canvas of this painting someday.


The painting is the masterpiece of Thomas Eakins entitled The Gross Clinic

The Gross Clinic 
(click on the picture)
I love it. 

The detail, the color, everything about it is amazing to me.

I have already decided that the painting will be featured as mybabyroc's masthead in July 2012. July is the only month I use a color picture for my sites masthead, all other months are black and white vintage photos.

Thomas Eakins
The man in the center of Eakins' painting was Samuel David Gross (July 8, 1805 – May 6, 1884). Gross was an American academic trauma surgeon. Surgeon biographer Isaac Minis Hays called Gross "The Nestor of American Surgery." In 1875 Dr. Gross was is immortalized in Thomas Eakins', The Gross Clinic, believed by many to be the most important American painting of the nineteenth century. 

The Gross Clinic, or, The Clinic of Dr. Gross, is an oil painting on canvas that stands 8 feet by 6.5 feet. In the painting, Dr. Samuel David Gross, a seventy-year-old professor dressed in a black frock coat, lectures a group of Jefferson Medical College students. Included among the group is a self-portrait of Eakins, who is seated to the right of the tunnel railing, sketching or writing. Seen over Dr. Gross's right shoulder is the clinic clerk, Dr. Franklin West, taking notes on the operation. Eakins's signature is painted into the painting, on the front of the surgical table.

Below is a description of The Gross Clinic provided by Wikipedia:

Admired for its uncompromising realism, The Gross Clinic has an important place documenting the history of medicine—both because it honors the emergence of surgery as a healing profession (previously, surgery was associated primarily with amputation), and because it shows us what the surgical theater looked like in the nineteenth century. The painting is based on a surgery witnessed by Eakins, in which Gross treated a young man for osteomyelitis of the femur. Gross is pictured here performing a conservative operation as opposed to an amputation (which is how the patient would normally have been treated in previous decades). Here, surgeons crowd around the anesthetized patient in their frock coats. This is just prior to the adoption of a hygienic surgical environment (see asepsis). The Gross Clinic is thus often contrasted with Eakins's later painting The Agnew Clinic (1889), which depicts a cleaner, brighter, surgical theater. In comparing the two, we see the advancement in our understanding of the prevention of infection.
It is assumed that the patient was a teenage boy, although the exposed body is not entirely discernible as male or female; the painting is shocking for both the odd presentation of this figure and the matter-of-fact goriness of the procedure. Adding to the drama is the lone woman in the painting seen in the middle ground, possibly the patient's mother, cringing in distress. Her dramatic figure functions as a strong contrast to the calm, professional demeanor of the men who surround the patient. This bloody and very blunt depiction of surgery was shocking at the time it was first exhibited.

So you can see what the big ruckus was about when Walmart, in partnership with The National Gallery of Art, was positioned and poised to acquire Easkins' masterpiece from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia for $68 million.

One doesn't buy, one acquires, when the purchase price is $68 million.

But with that large purchasing price the art community of Philadelphia didn't go easily into the night. This was a piece that The Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts couldn't lose. With a frantic citywide fundraiser drive and a loan, the painting was kept in Philadelphia.

Just as a side-note, four months later Alice Walton bought the cities second-most important painting: Portrait of Professor Benjamin H. Rand, also by the Philadelphia native, Easkins, for a reported $20 million.

Oh well, not all is lost. Right?


So there it is, one of my favorite pieces of artwork, if not my favorite, is a picture of a 19th century healer; a doctor.

The great physician. 

As I chose the title for this piece I couldn't help recognize my need for the greatest physician of all; Jesus Christ. 

" c. 1648 56. Attributed to Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn and Studio, Dutch.

Many of us suffer daily with an innumerable amount of troubles and trials; issues and concerns. They range from the irritable to the life threatening; from the inconvenient to the serious. When sin was introduced to mankind in the third chapter of Genesis God forewarned us that trials and tribulations, suffering and sickness would be our lot until He returns again. 

But he also promised to those who believe in him that He wouldn't necessarily remove the valleys in our life, but that He would journey with us through them.

Either you believe that or you don't.

I do believe it.

 "Head of Christ"
"Head of Christ," c. 1648 1650 by Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Dutch, is a part of the "Heads of Christ" series at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Psalm 147:3 states; "He helps the brokenhearted and binds their wounds." And David tells us in Psalm 103:2-3; "Praise the Lord, my soul, and never forget all the good he has done: He is the one who forgives all your sin, the one who heals all your diseases."  

In reading those pieces of scripture I realized that God is for me and not against me, and that disease isn't just about physical sickness and pain. Disease, sickness and pain, can be in the area of how we view ourselves or others, it can be defined by our lack of emotional or financial well being. 

Disease can mean many things to many people, but the one constant is no matter the disease, God, the Great Physician, can heal us.

Healing doesn't always mean life for the cancer patient or for the victim of a violent crime. Sometimes God's glory is displayed through death. I can't explain it nor do I want to experience it anytime soon, I just know that there are times that God does His best work in death and gains His greatest praise and glory when life sadly comes to an end. The greatest example of this is Jesus being crucified on the cross. 

Finally, I realize that it is highly unlikely I will ever own Thomas Easkins' masterpiece, The Gross Clinic, or any other of my most admired pieces of art, but what I can posses is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, that is less about religion and more about relationship. A relationship that is constant, consistent and caring. A relationship that will provide daily peace, wonderful comfort and unconditional love that is without prejudice and merit.

And though I will never have Dr. Gross framed prominently over my desk, I can, and do, have God's word planted in my heart, His forgiveness cemented in my mind and his love framed in my heart each day.

"Head of Christ"
 "Head of Christ," c. 1648 54. Attributed to Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Dutch.

The Great Physician.

He is available to all who seek Him and who is in need of His healing power.

And He is available today, not someday, but today, for all those who want to come into the presence of The Great Physician

sbb  20.8.11

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