Evan Kessler Dot Com

The Home of the Brave

Mona Lisa: The Picture of Imperfect Health

Posted by evankessler on January 6, 2010

Beauty is often in the eye of the beholder, and to many beholden art fanatics not currently trolling the Internet for fake nude images of Megan Fox, Mona Lisa is the most beautiful vision on any canvas hung on any wall the world over.  While the image painted by Leonardo DaVinci (a distant relative of Leonardo DiCaprio) has come to define an otherwordly allure, it turns out the merchant’s wife with the sly smile may have not exactly been the picture of perfect health.

An Italian medical expert (with entirely too much time on his hands) has determined that the ageless, oil-painted, head-turner probably had high cholesterol due to visual evidence of a xanthelasma– or a cholesterol deposit– in her left eye. Nevermind why we needed to know that, because Vito Franco–Professor of Pathological Anatomy at the University of Palermo– has been dedicating time and presumably wasting valuable grant money searching for venereal diseases in Vermeer paintings and staring at sculptures to spy sickness.

In order to expedite his research, we here at OneRiot did a little medical ogling of our own, free of charge no less, and found some shocking historical art ailments for Franco to add to his list.  Here goes nothing:

Whistler’s Mother- Whistler’s Mother was paralyzed from the waist down.  Why else would she be sitting?

Venus DeMilo- Leprosy.  The whole no arms thing is a dead giveaway.

The Thinker- Rodin’s model for the thinker was actually just dealing with a migraine headache. If anything profound ever came from those thoughts he would’ve been called “The Philosopher.”

Girl With The Pearl Earring- This arresting lady portrayed by Scarlett Johansson in the film of the same name suffered from Cauliflower ear.  It would’ve been called “The Girl With 2 Pearl Earrings” had they been able to get a pearl earring on her other ear, but that thing was just hideous and probably would’ve ruined the painting.

American Gothic- The male farmer in this classic Grant Wood painting is not only suffering from advanced Alopecia (hair loss) and Osteoporosis brought on by his old age, but also a mild dose of dementia as evidenced by his need to bring a pitchfork to an invitation to pose for a painting.

We’re sure we missed a simple goiter in a Van Gogh or a telling rash on a Rembrandt, but we just thought we’d leave those other maladies for the experts to mine.  After all, if a picture is worth a thousand words, why shouldn’t a healthy dose of those words be used to describe diseases?


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