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ENDOCRINOLOGY AND THE ARTS
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 119-122

Goiter in portraits of Judith the Jewish heroine


1 Department of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, Villa Salaria Clinic, Rome; Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, Center for Medical Humanities, University of Florence, Florence, Italy
2 Department of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, Villa Salaria Clinic, Rome, Italy
3 Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, Center for Medical Humanities, University of Florence, Florence, Italy
4 School of Humanities, University of New South Wales, Sydney, and University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia

Correspondence Address:
Davide Lazzeri
Department of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, Villa Salaria Clinic, Rome
Italy
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2230-8210.172266

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Judith was a legendary Hebrew heroine who beheaded the general Holofernes and saved the children of Israel from destruction by the Assyrian army. In the Book of Judith, which is still present in the Catholic and Orthodox Christian Bibles, Judith is presented as an illustrious woman who defeated the enemy using her virtue and fortitude. The present investigation has revealed 24 portraits in which Judith has been depicted with variable grades of thyroid gland enlargement on the scene where she decapitates Holofernes. There is no doubt that the integration of a slight thyroid enlargement in the paintings is a stylistic hallmark that portrays an idealized female beauty with a balanced neck and graceful body. The large extended goiter was probably depicted by the artists as a symbol of a powerful masculine body and her courage, and at the same time, it probably also reflects better anatomic accuracy and knowledge of artists from that period.


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