Bust of Hippocrates

Hippocrates 1
Bust of Hippocrates
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Perched on a hill in the heart of the medical campus, the famous Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates is in an excellent position to watch U-M doctors – those experienced as well as those in training – hurry on their ways to advancing the study of medicine each day. The bust of the so-called father of medicine was completed in 1994 by the local (and prolific) sculptor John Nick Pappas. Since no one knows what the 5th Century BCE physician from Cos actually looked like, Pappas had to create an image of Hippocrates in his mind that would seem authentic to a bystander – a task that was aided no doubt by Pappas’ firsthand experience of the sculpture and culture of the Greco-Roman world when he was a fellow at the American Academy in Rome in 1967. The slight tilt of the head forward and to the side is an innovation that breathes some life into the work and makes Hippocrates less a staid figure of the ancient past and more a guiding force to doctors in the present. And indeed the nearby plaque presents the Hippocratic Oath in full so that although this Hippocrates is only bronze his words can still reach those of the medical profession who have followed in his footsteps nearly two and a half millennia later.

Sculptor: John Nick Pappas

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