A likely representation of goiter in Antonio Canova’s Helen of Troy

Elena Varotto, Francesco M Galassi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Three main versions of the marble-sculpted head Helen of Troy (early nineteenth century) by the neoclassical artist Antonio Canova’s (1757–1822) exist, one at the Victoria and Albert Museum (London, UK), another one at the State Hermitage Museum (Saint Petersburg, Russia) and a third one belonging to a private Turin collection [1]. Captivated by the beauty of the 1811 version of the sculpture—which he could behold in the bust in Countess Isabella Teotochi Albrizzi’s (1760–1836) house in Venice—Romantic poet Lord Byron (1788–1824), defining it “the most perfectly beautiful of human conceptions” in a letter (25th November 1816) to the famous publisher John Murray II (1778–1843), even composed verses to celebrate it [2]: In this beloved marble view, /Above the works and thoughts of man, /What Nature could, but would not, do, And Beauty and Canova can! /Beyond imagination’s power, /Beyond the Bard’s defeated art, With immortality her dower, /Behold the Helen of the heart!
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1389-1390
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of Endocrinological Investigation
Issue number11
Early online date2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019


  • Art
  • Goiter
  • History of medicine
  • Thyroid


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