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‘Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian Dressing a Chest Wound’
‘Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian Dressing a Chest Wound’ Oil on canvas Antonie de Favray, 1748 RRa0016 / 44856i Wellcome Library
Third-century Christian physicians Cosmas and Damian are considered patron saints of physicians and pharmacists. Said to practise medicine without charging fees, the twin brothers’ miraculous healing powers became legendary after their martyrdom, with images and stories about their work appearing for many centuries.
The painless leg graft
One Cosmas and Damian miracle story that became popular in the thirteenth century involved the saints appearing to a sick man in a church in Rome. After undergoing the amputation of his diseased leg, and receiving a graft from an Ethiopian corpse, the patient was said to feel no pain.
‘A Verger’s Dream’ Oil on wood Master of Los Balbases, c.1495 46009i Wellcome Library