Nodular goiter in Pontormo’s “Epifania Benintendi” (ca. 1520)

Raffaella Bianucci, Francesco M Galassi, S. T. Donell, A. G. Nerlich, D. Lippi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Iodine deficiency goitre has been one of the most relevant thyroid pathologic conditions in Italian populations since antiquity; this hold true especially for the populations living in mountain or hilly areas where the iodine levels in soil are low (the Alps and the Apennines) [1]. Although the legislation (1972) allowed supplementation of iodine in drinking water (2), a 60% prevalence of nodal goitre, consistent with moderate iodine deficiency, was still registered in schoolchildren population residing in the Tuscan Apennines in 1982 [1]. It is worth noting that nodal goiter has been a common pathologic condition in the Mugello, a green valley located a few kilometers north of Florence, crossed by the Sieve river and surrounded by mountain areas. Here we show a case of goitre in the “Adorazione dei Magi”, also known as Epifania Benintendi, painted by Pontormo (1494–1557) in 1520, and displayed at the Galleria Palatina in Florence. (Fig. 1a). The fairground scene is set in Florence closed to the entrance of the “Spedale degli Innocenti”, in core of the old town [2]. The scene combines two different episodes of the Gospels of Luke (Luke 2, 8–20) and Matthew (Matthew 2, 9–13): The Adoration of the Magi (on the far left) and the Adoration of the Shepherds (on the far right)...
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2529-2531
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Endocrinological Investigation
Issue number11
Early online date9 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Art and Medicine
  • Epifania Benintendi
  • Florence
  • Nodal goitre


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