that gaze and that hand …

Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940) – Louis Henry Vaquez at “La Pitié” hospital (1921), Oil on canvas, National Academy of Medicine, Paris

The assistants take part in the general atmosphere and in the gestures of their chief and mentor, as they watch the patient, who constitutes the real focus of the painting; the lines drawn from the gazes and from the hands of everyone involved in the care converge to her. The gestures of care can be summarized by that gaze and that hand, which are signs of relationship. They represent the encounter between two free wills. This encounter overcomes the unavoidable asymmetry between the doctor and his patient.

Journal of Medicine and the Person

read the entire commentary by Bianchi etal