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Rembrandt’s doctors


Medical doctors appear in numerous Rembrandt paintings and reciprocally, physicians interested in art have used their diagnostic skills in dissecting the painter’s work, especially his lifetime of self-portraits. The possible existence of skin and eye diseases, hypothyroidism and Horton’s disease, and psychiatric and psychological traits has been a matter of everlasting debate, as summarised in the present paper. Most of all, the ageing process reveals itself over time in the continuity of the self-portraits. In the quest for signs of illness, the slightest bump in the canvas can be considered a symptom, and the examination of Rembrandt’s self-portraits is a difficult exercise. However, the resulting published papers have given rise to a great number of diagnostic hypotheses.

  • medicine and art
  • medical diagnosis
  • rembrandt
  • ageing
  • self-portrait

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