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April 2016

The Emperor’s Itch

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida
JAMA Dermatol. 2016;152(4):451. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.4241

Standing with his right hand tucked inside his waistcoat, Napoleon I of France looks off in deep thought, in Jacques-Louis David’s 1812 painting Napoleon in His Study. Though this stance appears regal, there are speculations that this iconic pose was merely a facade for his scratching convenience. At a time when scabies ran rampant, it is no surprise that some believe that Napoleon probably had “the itch.”1