Der Quacksalber (The Quack) is a painting (oil on wood, 53 x 56 cm) by Franz Anton Maulbertsch, from some time before 1785. The subject, of course, is quackery—the peddling of unproven, and sometimes dangerous, medicines, cures or treatments— which has existed throughout the history of medicine. In ancient times, theatrics were sometimes mixed with actual medicine to provide entertainment as much as healing. Quack medicines often had little in the way of active ingredients, or had ingredients which made a person feel good, such as what came to be known as recreational drugs. Morphine and related chemicals were especially common, being legal and unregulated in most places at the time. Arsenic and other poisons were also included.
Image 5Image of veins from William Harvey's Exercitatio Anatomica de Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus. Harvey demonstrated that blood circulated around the body, rather than being created in the liver. (from Scientific Revolution)