A portrait of the past
Millstein C.
J Mass Dent Soc. 2003 Fall;52(3):28-31.


Portrait painting of epochal moments changed the way in which people viewed events. Prior to this, words gave us our images and our imagination did the rest. In the twentieth century, the still photograph began to replace the historical painting. Both techniques gave us visual time to analyze the event. As artists, both Robert Cutler Hinckley and Warren Prosperi vied to make us their surrogate at the first ether operation. By using different methods, they gave us an accurate view of the event so that we can reflect on it. In Prosperi's cropped version, the older men and their facial expressions seem to have retained their joy of learning as they look forward to a better future for medicine. Hinckley's work, although more sedate, gives us a narrative of the history. It encompasses the search for adequate anesthesia and the final conquering of fear and pain that occurs on October 16, 1846. As a portrait of the past, it serves as a complement to Prosperi's modern work.
John Collins Warren
Obstetric anaesthesia
Molecular mechanisms
Crawford Williamson Long
Anaesthesia/16th October 1846
William T.G. Morton and "The Great Moment"
First use of anaesthetics in different countries
Hinckley's oil painting "The First Operation Under Ether"

and further reading

Future Opioids
BLTC Research
Utopian Surgery?
The Good Drug Guide
The Abolitionist Project
The Hedonistic Imperative
The Reproductive Revolution
Critique of Huxley's Brave New World