18th Century Continental School

The Urine Tester

By the late middle ages, the study of urine had solidified into the practice known as uroscopy. Medieval doctors associated nearly every known disease with urinary characteristics, and some would diagnose patients without even meeting them just by examining a bottle of their urine.
Uroscopy was commonplace, and it shows up in Shakespeare's writings. In Henry IV, when Falstaff asks, "What says the doctor to my water?" He's not just asking about his urinary health; because urine was so central to medicine at that time, he was effectively asking for the results of his entire checkup.
Although many uroscopy tests done in those times have been discredited, certain tests are still done today because they accurately indicate health problems, said Eric Wallen, a professor of urology at the University of North Carolina. "Malodorous urine is accurately classified as infected, red urine still notable for the presence of blood, [and] brown urine for bilirubin or blood products," Wallen said.
"But it would be a rare physician today who [only] utilized this form of analysis," Wallen said, and it would be especially rare to find one still "tasting the urine to diagnose diabetes."


Old Masters, 19th and Twentieth Century Art