October 1966

Pediatrics In Art: Tinea Tonsurans

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, and the Children's Hospital Medical Center, Boston.

Am J Dis Child. 1966;112(4):379-380. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1966.02090130153017

PAINTINGS of children being treated for medical problems are rarely found in classical art, but the few there are throw an interesting light on the history and nature of childhood illnesses in the past. Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617-1682), one of the greatest of Spanish painters, was unusually interested in painting children bothered by some of the common pediatric diseases of his time. Over 30 years ago Ruhräh published a short paper which illustrated Murillo's interest in pediculosis capitis.1 Another excellent example of Murillo's awareness of the common illnesses of his day may be seen in his painting called by most art historians El Tinõso (Figure), from the diseased head of the patient receiving treatment at the hand of the sainted duchess of Thuringia (c 1207-1231), better known as St. Elizabeth of Hungary.

In this beautiful painting we see St. Elizabeth conducting an outpatient dermatologic clinic where, according to Schlesinger,

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