William Orpen (1878-1931) produced numerous pictures of doctors and artists. Orpen suggests that in medical diagnostics, as in the production and evaluation of artworks, specialised visual skills are required.

In his painting A Mere Fracture (1901), which depicts a doctor examining a leg for a fracture, Orpen showed the close observation of surface detail and the knowledge of anatomy that he believed was required of artists. At the same time, in this painting and others like it, the artist included visual illusions and distorted mirror reflections, which cast doubt over the reliability of vision.

Speaker: Dr Keren Hammerschlag (Georgetown University)