Figures affected by goiter were only sparsely depicted by Peter Paul Rubens and Albrecht Durer among Flemish artists, because obvious goiter was not common in regions such as the Netherlands and Belgium. However, the recent observation of two figures with a goiter elegantly depicted by Rogier van der Weyden has raised our interest in this topic. When taking a close look at the paintings of this Flemish Renaissance painter, it is interesting to note that 16 portrayed subjects show an abnormal profile of the neck with swelling, suggestive of a presumptive medico-artistic diagnosis of goiter. Van der Weyden travelled to Italy where he soon acquired great fame and was second only to the other Flemish painter of the time, Jan Van Eyck. It is very likely that in Italy he had the opportunity to look at several female figures depicted with goiter, which may have influenced his paintings. Van der Weyden was appreciated because of his style to mix realistic details with idealized softened features to increase the beauty and appeal of his models. It is also likely that the integration of the goiter may have been part of the Renaissance tendency toward a more realistic and precise representation of subjects. The fact that in almost all cases the goiter was a low-to-moderate grade enlargement of the thyroid may confirm our speculation that perhaps the painter used the same model or the template derived from one model for subsequent paintings.

Goiter in paintings by Rogier van der Weyden

Pozzilli P;Persichetti P
2015-01-01

Abstract

Figures affected by goiter were only sparsely depicted by Peter Paul Rubens and Albrecht Durer among Flemish artists, because obvious goiter was not common in regions such as the Netherlands and Belgium. However, the recent observation of two figures with a goiter elegantly depicted by Rogier van der Weyden has raised our interest in this topic. When taking a close look at the paintings of this Flemish Renaissance painter, it is interesting to note that 16 portrayed subjects show an abnormal profile of the neck with swelling, suggestive of a presumptive medico-artistic diagnosis of goiter. Van der Weyden travelled to Italy where he soon acquired great fame and was second only to the other Flemish painter of the time, Jan Van Eyck. It is very likely that in Italy he had the opportunity to look at several female figures depicted with goiter, which may have influenced his paintings. Van der Weyden was appreciated because of his style to mix realistic details with idealized softened features to increase the beauty and appeal of his models. It is also likely that the integration of the goiter may have been part of the Renaissance tendency toward a more realistic and precise representation of subjects. The fact that in almost all cases the goiter was a low-to-moderate grade enlargement of the thyroid may confirm our speculation that perhaps the painter used the same model or the template derived from one model for subsequent paintings.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12610/1620
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