The portrait was created in 1751, shortly before Johann Roederer was appointed to work in Göttingen as an obstetrician. Demonstrating a stretched-out thumb and index finger are common indicators for the positioning of the hand during vaginal examinations of pregnant women. The bone identifies him as a doctor whose skill is based on exact anatomical knowledge. The book “Haller Icones” is a reference to Göttingen’s natural scientist Albrecht von Haller (1708-1777) who helped Roederer to obtain a professorship.
The portrait visualises Roederer’s research program in the new subject obstetrics. Measuring methods, anatomical knowledge and personal perception justify the new medical discipline to his male colleagues. With the new subject and its further institutionalisation, midwives were gradually pushed to the margins. They were replaced by the male obstetricians.

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