It’s not only the rich and the famous in the 21st century who are judged on their appearance—16th century models face the same scrutiny. Vito Franco from the University of Palmero is a medical expert who has studied famous figures in Renaissance art; he says that Mona Lisa and her world famous smile show signs of xanthelasma—a build-up of fatty acid around the eyes—and a fatty tissue tumour, which he suggests could mean very high levels of cholesterol in the model, believed to be Lisa del Giocondo. Franco has also studied other pieces of Renaissance art such as the subject for Botticelli’s Portrait of a Youth, which he says shows evidence of Marfan syndrome, a genetic bone disorder.
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