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July 21, 1989

Velázquez' Dwarfs: A Profusion of Diagnoses

Author Affiliations

West Penn Hospital Pittsburgh, Pa

West Penn Hospital Pittsburgh, Pa

JAMA. 1989;262(3):349. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430030037015

To the Editor.—  May I suggest that the subject of the painting El Nino de Vallecas by Velázquez depicts achondroplasia rather than a hypothyroid cretin? Dr Dominguez1 described the typical achondroplasia phenotype, consisting of short stature, megalocephaly, low nasal bridge with prominent forehead, frontal bossing, and short limbs. This well-recognized skeletal dysplasia has been the subject of various other paintings and sculptures.2 The familiar Las Meninas also painted by Velázquez depicts a female member of the Spanish court.