Saturday, October 18, 2008

"Ugly" Duchess

From Mail Online:
"For years, Quinten Massys' portrait of An Old Woman in the National Gallery has captivated audiences with her unattractive looks.
Looking at her upturned nose, wrinkled cleavage and beady eyes, one would wonder why the Flemish artist would choose to paint such an ugly woman.

After much investigation and debate, art experts believe they have found out why the woman looked like she did and have authenticated the masterpiece.

Medical research on the subject of the painting found she was suffering from an extremely rare form of Paget's disease - an chronic disorder which enlarges and deforms the bones.

The investigation into the 1513 creation found not only why the woman looked like she did, but also that the portrait was a truthful representation.

Researchers told The Guardian she suffered from an advanced form of osteitis deformans, which left her with an extended upper lip, a pushed up nose and enlarged jaw bones. Her hands, eye sockets, forehead, chin and collarbones were also affected by the condition."

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