- When walking in the Italian paintings of the Louvre Museum in Paris, one can stumble upon a painting of the Italian Renaissance (Quattrocento)“Portrait of an Old Man and a Young Boy” (Portrait d’un Vieillard et d’un Jeune garçon)
- It shows an old man lying on his deathbed holding a child in his arms.
- When looking at the man, 2 dermatological features strike the eye:
- The first one is obvious showing a nose deformity compatible with Rhinophyma, or stage 4 Rosacea
- The second one shows a papule / nodule on the right anterior temple. It is not possible to say what it is, it is skin colored and could be an intradermal nevus, a Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) or a plethora of other possible skin growths (tumors)
About the painting
-The painting was done in the Italian 15th century by the Florentine Renaissance painter named Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449-1494)
-Paintings of the same period showing naked bodies are often very real although skin conditions are not routinely added.
-Skin, although unblemished has skin tones and a grayish tone can symbolize death or evil.
-This painting on the other hand shows skin lesions but the tone is positive and includes “warm” colors. It is sympathetic to the old man. (Their clothing also shows that both the old man and boy were of high social rank)