The canvas radiates toward us, almost untreated, such that all our attention is concentrated on the main motif. Imhotep
is rather loosely painted. Several layers of thin glazes have freely followed the law of gravity and formed a light, delicate veil in warm, brown tones. Meanwhile, the artist’s determined and pastos brush strokes are placed in such a way as to pull the composition together again. At first glance the picture is almost an abstract expression, yet if one looks closely the motif materializes. A figure sits in a long-legged chair with dark red upholstery. The man’s age is indeterminable because the features of a child and an old man are woven into an unbreakable unity. Perhaps this alludes to medicine’s millennial history, but that it nevertheless remains young on account of continuous innovation through research? A bird skeleton is placed next to the man, in front of them both floats a bowl with two eggs. These elements strengthen the historical perspective, but also stress the cycle of life and death, another basic precondition for medicine.
It seems as though the man is sitting cross-legged, an impression that can create associations with the work’s title Imhotep
. Imhotep was an Egyptian doctor and universal genius from about 3000 BC. In many extant sculptures and reliefs he is depicted sitting in this position. About 525 BC he was deified and worshiped as the protector of scribes, doctors and the learned – in other words, he is a fitting motif for a medical research centre.