Archives for May 2014

Dentistry and Art: The Dentist by Pietro Longhi

Pietro Longhi was a Venetian painter who lived from 1702 – 1785. He primarily painted contemporary scenes and daily life of residents of Venice in the mid 1700s.

Pietro Longhi the Dentist oil Painting showing a tooth extraction in the 1700s in Venice

The Dentist, sometimes also referred to as The Tooth Puller or Il Cavadenti, painted approximately 1750. Clicking on the image will show a larger version

This painting does not include the gory scenes as depicted in works by Caravaggio orĀ Gerard van Honthorst. Rather, it elevates the “dentist” into somewhat of a magician-like figure. But, similar to other works, it shows the dentist having just pulled a tooth. Other procedures (root canals, crowns, etc) that we associated with modern dentistry have not yet been invented.

There are several masked individuals and a person of small stature is at the foreground. All of this suggests some type of Venetian Carnival type atmosphere.

On a lighter note, there are three individuals, probably early teens, looking up and admiring the dentist. Based on this viewpoint, doesn’t it appear that they are holding smartphones and taking pictures?