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Los Angeles County General Hospital Bas Relief Figures

Artist
Gaetana Salvatore Cartaino Scarpitta
Year
1933
Artwork Type
Sculpture
Media & Support
Stone
Department
Health Services
Location
LAC+USC General Hospital
1200 North State Street
Los Angeles, CA
District
1
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https://www.lacountyarts.org/civicart/objects-1/info/682

Location

Latitude: -118.207909 - Longitude: 34.057565
Image: Los Angeles County General Hospital Bas Relief Figures

Additional Images

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Description

Carved high above the towering main entrance, nine enrobed figures stand vigil and greet visitors to the historic General Hospital. Completed concurrently with the building’s construction in 1933, these nine sculptures were designed by Italian-American artist Salvatore C. Scarpitta. Six of the statues represent important medical science innovators and researchers, and together, they symbolize nearly 2,500 years of Western medical science history.

On the viewer’s left Louis Pasteur (1822-1895, French microbiologist who invented pasteurization), Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564, Belgian physician and author of a seminal book on human anatomy), and William Harvey (1578-1657, English doctor who was the first to correctly describe the circulatory system) stand.  In the grouping on the viewer’s right we see Hippocrates (460-370 BC, Greek physician considered one of the founders of medical science), Galen (129-200 AD, Greek physician who wrote extensively about human anatomy), and John Hunter (1728-1793, Scottish surgeon famous for his advocacy of rigorous scientific experimentation).  Each of these six sculptures has distinct facial features and holds a slightly different pose.  In the center group are three allegorical statues: an elderly man and a woman holding a child stand on either side of a benevolent angel whose wings are outstretched and whose hands are folded in prayer.