Meeting – November 16th 2017

Meetings of the Society
Auckland Medical History Society

The Auckland Medical History Society will meet in the Ernest and Marion Davis Library at Auckland City Hospital on Thursday 16th November 2017 



The evening will be as follows:

  • 6.00pm: Drinks will be served in the Ernest and Marion Davis Library
  • 6.30pm: Buffet Christmas Dinner will be served in the dining room
  • 7.30pm: Guest presentation*

The Gates of Hell: Dante, Rodin and Charcot                                        presented by Dr Mark Fisher

(We are grateful to Dr Mark Fisher for agreeing to replace our scheduled speaker, Rob Harley, who is unwell).


  • Members: $45
  • Non-members and guests: $55
  • Students with ID: $18
  • Glass of wine: $5
  • Bottle of wine: $20
  • Table water and juice are complimentary.

Please pay for your dinner and wine vouchers in advance, and collect the vouchers with your name badge on the night of the dinner.


  • Book by email: Send the names of attendees to with confirmation that you have made payment to the AMHS account: 02 0160 0237509 00.
  • Book by phone: Call 0274 305 326 with the names of attendees, method of payment and your phone number.
  • Book by mail: Post your cheque (payable to the Auckland Medical History Society) along with the names of attendees and your phone number, to:

Elizabeth Collins, PO Box 133190, Eastridge, Auckland 1146

  • Final booking time, and cancellations: Please provide your booking details by midday on Mon 13 Nov   Cancellations with refund or credit of any payment made will be accepted by phone or email as above until noon on Weds 15 Nov.  Please pay in advance of the evening so that we can pay our caterers before the event.

*Payment is not required if you are attending the presentations only.

Presenter, Dr Mark Fisher 

Mark was born in Auckland and attended the Auckland Medical school. After his first year as a House Officer he undertook further studies for 18 months including art history and psychology. He then joined the psychiatry training programme in Auckland and on graduation worked across North Shore and Auckland hospitals. Mark specialised in both the Psychiatry of Old Age and Liaison Psychiatry, but has mainly practiced in the former. He has worked in the UK, Tauranga, and for the last 10 years at Counties Manukau DHB, where he is the Clinical Head of Old Age Psychiatry. Mark’s interests are in medico-legal issues, driving with dementia, ECT and dementia services. He is currently the DAMHS at CMDHB, which is a Mental Health Act-related responsibility

Topic Summary – The Gates of Hell: Dante, Rodin and Charcot

This talk is based on a journal article written by Natasha Ruiz-Gomez. Rodin’s masterwork “the Gates of Hell” was based on Dante’s The Divine Comedy. It includes within it Rodin’s most widely-known work, “The Thinker”, which is familiar to most people (see picture below, just under the portal.) The gates of Hell contains within it images from a number of the stories from the Divine Comedy, and is supposed to represent one of the gates into Hell that Dante described. Natasha Ruiz-Gomez asserts that Rodin used patients from the Salpetriere Hospital as images or models for many of the figures in his sculpture. Charcot, who was the famous neurologist and head of the Salpetriere Hospital in Paris, had a great interest in Hysteria, and she claims it is the photos and pictures of these patients that Rodin used as his models. Also, Rodin attended displays of Hysteria, that Charcot would put on at the hospital for friends, colleagues and the public. This talk is an introduction to the work of Dante and Rodin and the issue of whether Hysteria (as per Charcot) has been reimagined in Rodin’s masterwork, The Gates of Hell.