Philippe Pinel is sometimes called the "father of modern psychiatry" for his pioneering research and his work on the humane treatment of patients with mental disorders. He was born in the south of France and arrived in Paris in 1778 intending to practice medicine right away. However, his medical degree from the University at Toulouse was not recognized in the capital, and he spent the next 15 years making a living as a writer, translator, and editor of the small weekly journal Gazette de santé. He became known among natural scientists for his regular contributions to the Journal de physique. He developed an interest in the study of mental illness after a friend committed suicide. He worked in a private asylum before the French Revolution and became chief physican at the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in 1795. Later a bronze statue of him was erected in his honor at the main entrance to the hospital. He's also portrayed in the famous painting "Dr. Philippe Pinel at the Salpêtrière, 1795" by Robert Fleury, in which he orders the removal of chains from patients at the Paris Asylum for insane women.