A man lies in bed wrapped up tightly in white sheets, looking afraid, whilst a man stands over him lecturing him, holding a book and wearing all black with a black cap. An assistant stands behind this doctor, holding an overly large clyster.
Honoré Victorin Daumier (1808-1879), Le Malade Imaginaire (The Hypochondriac), circa 1850, The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust) © The Courtauld

Le Malade Imaginaire (The Hypochondriac)

Honoré Daumier

Known for his acerbic caricatures, Honoré Daumier here loosely interprets a scene from the satirical play Le malade imaginaire (The Hypochondriac, 1673) by the French playwright Molière. Argan, the patient, is visited by Doctor Purgon, who lectures self-importantly at the bedside. Terrified, the miserable man, wearing a comical nightcap tightened by a blue ribbon, focuses his attention on the doctor’s assistant who holds an exaggeratedly large clyster, used to administer an enema. By framing the staged scene with a monumental curtain and spotlighting key elements, Daumier emphasizes the comical aspect of the drama. 

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Two men sit across from each other at a table covered with a brown tablecloth, playing cards. Both men wear overcoats and hats, and the man on the left smokes a pipe. They sit inside a wooden building. i Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) The Card Players, around 1892-96, The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust)