The Painting: Portrait Of Wilder Graves Penfield By Iris Hauser

Description by the artist: I have posed Dr. Penfield in the center, between two views of operating theatres: to the left, the MNI where Dr. Penfield did his groundbreaking research into mapping the brain from 1934 to 1954. On the right, the current operating theatre at the Royal University hospital/Sask Epilepsy Program in Saskatoon with the surgical team depicted. In the foreground, Dr. Penfield is presented as... though about to give a public presentation, with images from his publications fanned across a carved stone dais. From the left to right there are four visible documents. The first one is a surgical sketch after a craniotomy; the second one depicts the homunculus creature discovered and published by Penfield, the third one shows the homunculus location over the brain gyrus of both hemispheres, and the last one represents an original sketch of the cortical functional areas of the non-dominant hemisphere. The tabletop rests on a carved stone ram’s skull (the astrological sign symbolizing the brain), beside a brass plaque naming the MNI, with Penfield’s name and birth and death dates carved into the stone. On the tabletop are two bronze casts of the skull, which were made during Penfield’s tenure at the MNI. To the left are a few books and journals written by Dr. Penfield, including his novel “The Torch”, and a bible to represent his religious conviction. The books are supported by a bookend in the shape of a dragon, referencing his important work in China. Dr. Penfield sports a maple leaf pin that is the symbol of membership in the Order of Canada.