Rubens and the question of antiquity of rheumatoid arthritis

JAMA. 1981 Feb 6;245(5):483-6.


Analysis of the hands in paintings attributed to Peter Paul Rubens during the last 30 years of his life seems to show progressive rheumatoid arthritis. Not only does this suggest that rheumatoid arthritis was present at the time, 200 years before some modern authors are willing to date its appearance, but also that Rubens or a major and consistent collaborator suffered from the disease.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Case Reports
  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Art / history*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / history*
  • Famous Persons*
  • Hand Deformities, Acquired / history*
  • History, 16th Century
  • History, 17th Century
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicine in the Arts*
  • Netherlands
  • Paintings / history*

Personal name as subject

  • P P Rubens