Heart Views

: 2019  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 180-

The Apothecary

Smitha Anilkumar 
 Non-Invasive Cardiology, Department of Cardiology Heart Hospital, Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Smitha Anilkumar
Non-Invasive Cardiology, Department of Cardiology Heart Hospital, Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha

How to cite this article:
Anilkumar S. The Apothecary.Heart Views 2019;20:180-180

How to cite this URL:
Anilkumar S. The Apothecary. Heart Views [serial online] 2019 [cited 2021 Sep 27 ];20:180-180
Available from: https://www.heartviews.org/text.asp?2019/20/4/180/271025

Full Text


Pietro Longhi (1702 or November 5, 1701 – May 8, 1785) was a Venetian painter of contemporary genre scenes of life. Longhi's genre pictures provide a varied and detailed documentation of contemporary Venetian life and events.

“The Apothecary” is a oil on canvas painting, is a scene of a apothecary's shop where he is examining a young lady, possibly a courtesan. Others are waiting their turns while an young man is heating perhaps a herbal concoction and another is writing out a possible prescription. The potted plant has been described by some commentators as “aloes”. However, according to Bentham and Hooker's renowned British Flora, the true aloes of botanists are in fact liliaceous plants. This is clearly an agave plant, This was a recognized symbol of healing at the time and used to ward off plague.

According to Sharif Kaf al-Ghazal, and S. Hadzovic, apothecary shops existed during the Middle Ages in Baghdad, operated by Islamic pharmacists in 754 during the Abbasid Caliphate, or Islamic Golden Age. Apothecaries were also active in Islamic Spain by the 11th century. From the 15th century to the 16th century, the apothecary gained the status of a skilled practitioner. In this painting the Apothecary is clearly involved in examining the patient as well as recommending and preparing medicine. The dual roles are nicely depicted in this work.