University of South Alabama

About the Mural at the USA Medical Center

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A mural, located in the lobby of University of South Alabama Medical Center, was executed in Italian marble by artist Conrad Albrizio (1894-1973) for the June 1966 opening of the hospital.

The 22' x 24' mosaic is an artistic examination of the history of medicine. The large central figure is Hippocrates, the father of medicine, receiving the oath; representing, in turn, the moral discipline of the "Hippocratic Oath" imposed upon all doctors.

Immediately to the left, is the figure of Aesculapius, one of the earliest known Greek physicians and a demi-god to those of his era. His attempts to cure were based on mystery, incantations and magic. Above his head is the winged mask representing the "oracle," or voices of the gods.

The figure of the famed Egyptian Imhotep (3000 B.C.) can be seen on the opposite side. He was an architect, scientist and surgeon--the triangle and scalpel are symbolic of these professions.

This triad of major figures is sustained in design and composition by two groups on either side. Shown at the lower right is the Greek physician Galen (circa 75 A.D.), examining a human skull. His findings and theories concerning animal and human anatomies were highly criticized due to prejudices and taboos towards the study of anatomy.

By the 16th century, these prejudices had dissipated, and anatomical study was accomplished by an anatomist and physician of Flemish descent named Vesalius. He is represented in the lower left corner.

The upper part of the panel is devoted to symbolic representations of the human body, beginning with birth on through life. The total design serves as the backdrop for the superimposed white line drawing of the surgeon, preparing for an operation.

Also located in the USA Medical Center lobby, on either side of the mural, are sculptures by artist Enrique Alferez (1901-1999).

The three figures on one side represent the family unit, symbolizing the nucleus of society, whose health is the concern of medicine.

The three figures on the opposite wall, a teacher, a medical student and a nurse, represent the educational mission of the hospital.

 

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