Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Image of Paracelsus 11483



Frederick Sommer



Creation Date



20th century


13 1/2 in. x 10 1/16 in. (34.29 cm. x 25.56 cm.)

Object Type


Creation Place

North America, American

Medium and Support

gelatin silver print

Credit Line

Museum Purchase, Lloyd O. and Marjorie Strong Coulter Fund


This artwork may be under copyright. For further information, please consult the Museum’s Copyright Terms and Conditions.

Accession Number

Frederick Sommer experimented extensively with man-made negatives. In one series he made negatives out of paint applied to cellophane, which he would manipulate and peel as it dried. In Paracelsus, those liquid gestures make up the silhouette of a woman’s torso. Sommer named this work after an influential sixteenth-century physician. Considered the father of modern psychology for his early recognition of the unconscious, Paracelsus was a figure of great fascination to the surrealists, who translated and published his writings in their journals.

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