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Erasistratus the Physician Discovers the Love of Antiochus for Stratonice

Benjamin West


Erasistratus the Physician Discovers the Love of Antiochus for Stratonice was painted in 1772, the year George III appointed Benjamin West historical painter to the king. The painting derives its subject from a legend loosely based on Greek history. West’s picture tells the story of Seleucus, the king of Syria, who has summoned the eminent Greek physician Erasistratus to diagnose a mysterious ailment afflicting his son Antiochus. After observing the prince’s behavior, the doctor concludes that Antiochus is suffering from unrequited love. West depicts the moment when Erasistratus—taking Antiochus’s pulse—discovers that Antiochus longs for his own stepmother, Stratonice. According to legend, the king gave his wife to his beloved son, saving his life.

  • Titles Erasistratus the Physician Discovers the Love of Antiochus for Stratonice (Proper)
  • Artist Benjamin West, American, 1738 - 1820
  • Medium oil on canvas
  • Dimensions 50 x 72 in. (127 x 182.9 cm) frame: 56 1/4 × 78 7/8 × 2 1/2 in. (142.9 × 200.3 × 6.4 cm)
  • Credit Line Museum purchase with funds provided by Mr. and Mrs. Houston Blount, Mr. and Mrs. Michael Bodnar, John Bohorfoush, Mr. and Mrs. Percy W. Brower, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Thomas N. Carruthers, Jr., Catherine Collins, Mr. and Mrs. Henry C. Goodrich, Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Kaul, Harold and Regina Simon Fund, Mr. and Mrs. William M. Spencer III, Mr. and Mrs. Lee Styslinger, and other donors, 1987.4
  • Work Type painting
  • Classification Paintings
  • On View