38. Max Brodel (1870-1941): His artistic influence on surgical learning at John Hopkins Medical School

P. Pace-Asciak, T. Gelfand


Medical students depend on illustration to learn anatomical facts and details that may be too subtle for the written or spoken word. For surgical disciplines, learners rely on tools such as language, 2-dimensional illustrations, and 3-dimensional models to pass on important concepts. Although a photograph can convey factual information, illustration can highlight and educate the pertinent details for understanding surgical procedures, neurovascular structures, and the pathological disease processes.
In order to understand the current role of medical illustration in education, one needs to look to the past to see how art has helped solve communication dilemmas when learning medicine. This paper focuses on Max Brodel (1870-1941), a German-trained artist who eventually immigrated to the United States to pursue his career as a medical illustrator. Shortly after his arrival in Baltimore, Brodel made significant contributions to medical illustration in Gynecology at John Hopkins University, and eventually in other fields of medicine such as Urology and Otolaryngology. Brodel is recognized as one of America’s most distinguished medical illustrators for creating innovative artistic techniques and founding the profession of medical illustration.
Today, animated computer based art is synergistically used with medical illustration to educate students about anatomy. Some of the changes that have occurred with the advancement of computer technology will be highlighted and compared to a century ago, when illustrations were used for teaching anatomy due to the scarcity of cadavers.
Schultheiss D, Udo J. Max Brodel (1870-1941) and Howard A.Kelly (1858-1943) – Urogynecology and the birth of modern medical illustration. European Journal of Obstetrics & gynecology and Reproductive Biology 1999; 86:113-115.
Crosby C. Max Brodel: the man who put art into medicine. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1991.
Papel ID. Max Brodel’s contributions to otolaryngology – Head and Neck surgery. The American Journal of Otology 1986; 7(6):460-469.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.25011/cim.v30i4.2798


  • There are currently no refbacks.

© 2007-2017 Canadian Society for Clinical Investigation.
C.I.M. provides open access to all of its content 6 months after the date of publication