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Staff of Asclepius as work of art

Arno Breker created the symbolically strong sculpture in the classical tradition


Arno Breker: Staff of Asclepius. Bronze. The noble bronze sculpture on a marble stand is perfect as a desk-top sculpture for doctors, health practitioners and art lovers.

Foto Copyright Marco Bodenstein


The staff of Asclepius with the sacred serpent is an international symbol of doctors and health practitioners. Its origin goes back to the 6th century B.C. The staff was an attribute of the god Asclepius. The cult of Asclepius spread out from Epidaurus and eventually replaced Apollo as the God of healing in the 5th century B.C. It was introduced into Athens in 420 B.C.

The artist Arno Breker has, as the most significant sculptor of the classical tradition of the 20th century, recreated this traditional symbol for arts and representatives of the healing arts. He uses as the staff a variation of an column from antiquity, and thus reinforces its symbolic power in our modern time. In this way, an impressive desk-top sculpture of special beauty was created. The work is available to doctors and collectors in a limited edition.

For information, contact Museum@europaeische-kultur-stiftung.org


The staff of Asclepius and the famous doctor Hippokrates from Kos have remained till today in the memory as witnesses of a long, Western culture. Hippokrates founded in 5th centure B.C. one of the first schools for doctors. He left behind, together with other later authors, in the voluminous writings of 'Corpus Hippocraticum' ethical foundations, which have thoroughly permeated more than 2,000 years of Western medicine. The most famous and popular writing contains the 'Hippocratic Oath'. It is a document of high moral and literary value.

Already Hippocrates knew the staff of Asclepius. In his time, the victorious march of the cult of Asclepius began. Asclepius from Thessaly was a son of Apollo and the mortal woman Koronis. In the Hellenistic Greece, Asclepius was worshipped together with the Goddess Hygieia.

In connection with an outbreak of plague in 293 B.C., the cult of Asclepius was introduced into Rome. Asclepius was one of the most worshipped Gods in the Roman imperial times. At the re-establishing of the order, the symbol of Asclepius, the serpent, carried in procession to the new place of worship. The attribute of the God was the staff of Asclepius, a staff circled by a sacred serpent, which has become a symbol for the healing professions. Today, the staff of Asclepius is among others the symbol of the German doctors, drugstores, societies of doctors as well as in the family coats-of-arms of traditionally minded physicians.


Copyright 2003 West-Art, Prometheus 86, 2003.


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Copyright 2003 West-Art

PROMETHEUS, Internet Bulletin for Art, Politics and Science.

Nr. 86, 2003