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The girl in this painting is not ill but lovesick. To underline the point, there is a picture of 'Venus and Adonis' on the wall and the boy in the fore ground is Cupid in seventeenth-century costume, putting an arrow in his bow. The doctor takes the woman’s pulse and looks knowingly at the maid, who is holding a urine bottle. Erotic melancholy was allegedly detected by feeling the pulse, whilst visual examination of the urine was claimed to reveal the same disorder, or pregnancy.
oil on oak panel
49 x 42 cm
management transferred from the Victoria and Albert Museum to English Heritage, 2004
English Heritage, The Wellington Collection, Apsley House
149 Piccadilly, Hyde Park Corner, London, Greater London W1J 7NT EnglandView venue
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