Artistic Symbolism of 150 Years of Medicine

Artistic Symbolism of 150 Years of Medicine

Spring 2017, Living Well Magazine

Gawler community member, Michael Meszaros, is a brilliant artist who was commissioned to create a major public sculpture for the 150th anniversary of Melbourne University Medical School.

The 2.3 metre high bronze sculpture, was unveiled in August 2013, and until very recently took up residence outside the Grattan Street entrance, when construction of the new Parkville Railway Station commenced.

The work symbolises the development of medicine over the 150 years span of the Medical School. Each figure represents a time step of 50 years, starting at 1862, and progressing through to 2012. It suggests the increasing complexity, specialisation and compartmentalization of medicine due to the exponential increase in medical knowledge.

The raised and negative boxes on each figure suggest the amount of knowledge at each point in time. They increase in density and depth until 2012, at which point they become boxes-within-boxes-within-boxes, suggesting the increasing specialisation and compartmentalisation of conventional medicine.

The increasing number of holes, suggest the increasing number of ways we have of looking into the body.

The polished band running through the 2012 figure, on the right, from the head down, symbolises the influence of the mind over the whole body.

One further element in the work is the double profile faces on each figure, which symbolise the doctor-patient relationship, and the ongoing care doctors offer their patients.

Note: The sculpture is currently in storage, with plans for relocation within the University shortly.

To learn more about Michael’s work you can visit his website or