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?

Comments

  1. Gerald Pondolfino DDS says:

    Nicholas,i have an old lithograph in my office of a childs tooth being extracted.I cannot find this image anywhere on the web and hope you can help

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