Goiter in Brazilian modernism paintings

Main Article Content

Luís Jesuíno de Oliveira Andrade
Gustavo Magno Baptista
Ana Paula Rodrigues dos Santos
Alcina Maria Vinhaes Bittencourt
Gabriela Correia Matos de Oliveira


Objective: To evaluate Di Cavalcanti’s artworks in which goiters are represented before and after the introduction of iodized salt to the Brazilian population. Methods: One hundred and thirty paintings by Di Cavalcanti from the 20’s to 70’s demonstrating necks were evaluated. All the paintings were observed in reproductions. The neck circumference in the paintings was measured. Since there were no standard thresholds of neck circumference, cutoffs were based on the median. Baseline characteristics of artworks were compared based on high and normal neck circumference categories using Student’s t-test, Mann-Whitney-Wilcoxon test, or chi square test. Results: We analyzed 29 artworks which portray the neck of 60 women (84.5%), 8 men (11.3%) and 3 children (4.2%). The analyses of the neck circumference showed 23.3% of women (14/60), 12.5% of men (1/8), and 33.3% of children (1/3) with an abnormal profile of the neck circumference. The neck circumference ratio in 29 paintings showed that the relative sizes of the necks painted between the 1920’s and 1950’s (r=0.45; p=0.03), and painted between the 1960’s and 70’s (r= 0.54; p=0.003) have linearly decreased. The decades in which the artworks were painted explained 40.0% of the variation in size of the neck circumference (p=0.002). Conclusion: Art imitates life. Di Cavalcanti was not a physician, and probably did not have the intention to illustrate a pathological condition, although the images observed in this study should be considered as goiter or enlarged neck.

Article Details

Artigos Originais