Thomas Eakins created this masterpiece specifically for Philadelphia’s 1876 Centennial Exhibition, but it was rejected—perhaps because the jury deemed the subject too bloody and brutal for display in the art building. Today, it’s recognized as one of the greatest American paintings ever made. Happy birthday to the artist, born on this day in 1844.

“Portrait of Dr. Samuel D. Gross (The Gross Clinic)”, 1875, by Thomas Eakins 

Breathe, Dr Yang. Don’t be crass. You’re skulking. Women of your generation are graceless. It’s an affront to nature. Mediocre surgeons will see you and feel themselves wilting in your shadow. Do not shrink to console them. Do not look for friends here, you won’t find them. None of these people have the capacity to understand you. They never will. If you’re lucky, one day when you’re old and shriveled like me, you will find a young doctor with little regard for anything but their craft. And you train them, like I trained you. Until then, read a good book. You have greatness in you, Yang. Don’t disappoint.