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Edouard Manet's Portrait of Jeanne Duval: Did Manet Portray the Disease from Which he Died?

Clinics in Dermatology 2024 January 13
In 1862, the French artist Edouard Manet painted a portrait of Jeanne Duval, then age 42, who was suffering from a paralyzed leg. Manet depicts her stiffly reclined on a sofa with her foot seemingly disjointed from her body. Duval later became blind. Around 1875, Manet himself began to develop leg pains and an unsteady gait which progressed in severity until he died from complications of his disorder, during 1883, at age 51. This contribution reviews the clinical information available concerning the neurological disorders of both the subject and artist, the differential diagnosis for each case, with a focus on whether neurosyphilis may have accounted for their respective illnesses. This contribution also pays tribute to Irwin M. Braverman, MD, who is being honored in this special issue of Clinics in Dermatology for his many contributions to dermatology and for demonstrating how the study of art can be a valuable teaching tool to improve the observational skills of medical students.

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