Leonardo da Vinci: beauty or human suffering in the world. Notes on pathological cutaneous alterations in the 'Adoration of the Magi'

Marchetti C & Panconesi E (1997). Leonardo da Vinci: beauty or human suffering in the world. Notes on pathological cutaneous alterations in the 'Adoration of the Magi'. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology 8 (2): 101-111. DOI:10.1016/S0926-9959(97)00618-1.

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Abstract

The authors have individuated and evidenced in this study some of a series of very suggestive minute figures and signs of pathological conditions, including common cutaneous lesions, portrayed by Leonardo da Vinci in his famous painting ‘The Adoration of the Magi’ (‘L' Adorazione dei Magi‘) which is in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. These figures and lesions are mostly ‘hidden’ and become visible only by close, attentive observation of specific points extrapolated from the vision of this magnificent picture as a whole. Possible clinical interpretations are attributed to the ‘lesions’ evidenced, with the conviction that they were portrayed consciously by Leonardo and that they represent a confirmation of his extraordinary capacity for observation and ability to reproduce faithfully that which he saw, including the obvious signs of diseases which it is known he had ample occasion to observe. In this painting, as in others, Leonardo presents the horrors of life and sickness manifestly and skillfully disguised behind the mantle of beauty. We wonder if the monks who had commissioned the painting and then refused to take it did not recognize the ugly truth under the beautiful surface representation.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Leonardo Da Vinci; Minute figures; Cutaneous lesions
Research Programs: Institute Scholars (INS)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2016 12:37
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2017 09:46
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/13585

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