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To the Editor:—
I should like to differ with the interpretation of the Goya painting called El Garrotillo on the front cover of JAMA for Oct 31, 1966.The statement that Goya in this picture portrays a physician examining the throat of a child is certainly the usual one. Actually, this painting illustrates a scene from the 16th-century picaresque novel Lazarillo de Tormes. Nigel Glendinning, writing in The Listener for Feb 20, 1964, states that the unpleasant-looking man is not a doctor at all, but Lazarillo's first master, the blind beggar. The evidence for this interpretation became apparent when we learned that Goya's painting illustrated a scene from the particular work of fiction mentioned above. With this knowledge all the strange details of the painting fall logically into place. The man's long nose is required by the story and is not an arbitrary contribution of the artist, since it is
Cone TE. Goya's Lazarillo de Tormes. JAMA. 1967;199(3):222. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120030126035