College students visit heart surgery operating room for artistic inspiration
Aspiring to imitate Thomas Eakins? It certainly looks that way. Last week, a group of students from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania evoked the image of the 19th-century Philadelphia artist when they went to observe -- and then document in their own drawings -- surgery as it was taking place.
Perched above the operating rooms at the Inova Heart and Vascular Institute in Falls Church, the students were able to watch through a glass dome as cardiac surgeon Edward Lefrak and his team performed an aortic valve replacement. Monitors allowed the students-- including, above, Emily Leach, left, and Alicia DeWitt -- to see parts of the procedure in greater detail.
The group of 20 included engineering and biology students, many of whom don't draw regularly. The goal, according to assistant art professor Logan Grider, was not simply to reproduce the operation in art but to focus the students' attention on a "visually complicated" procedure such as surgery.