S. Giménez-Roldán, V. S. Palmer, P. S. Spencer Neurosciences and History 2022;10(1): 21-31
Type of article: ORIGINAL
S. Giménez-Roldán1, V. S. Palmer2, P. S. Spencer3 1Former head professor, Department of Neurology, Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón, Madrid, Spain. 2School of Medicine, Department of Neurology, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon, United States of America. 3School of Medicine, Department of Neurology, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon, United States of America.
Of Francisco de Goya’ s series of 82 engravings entitled The Disasters of War, 16 are dedicated to the extreme famine suffered by the population of Madrid in 1811-1812. In Thanks to the grasspea (engraving 51), a group of ragged and impoverished individuals is shown around a large pot in the middle of the street. The painter highlighted in the foreground the figure of a woman who crawls on the ground to reach what appears to be a communal meal. She could represent a victim of lathyrism in the most severe stage (crawling). On 2 July 1812, the Diario de Madrid newspaper issued a proclamation from the mayor of the town warning of the “malignancy” of certain ingredients that adulterated bread, such as grasspea (Lathyrus sativus), considered a serious risk to public health. Goya probably reproduced -- (for the first time in history) a victim of lathyrism. Future research may show whether the disease reached an epidemic status in the city of Madrid.
Grasspea, Francisco de Goya, Peninsular War, famine, lathyrism, The disasters of war, Madrid
Neurosciences and History 2022;10(1): 21-31
Neurosciences and History Archivo Histórico de la Sociedad Española de Neurología C/ Casp, 172, 1A 08013 – Barcelona Tlf.: +34 933426233. E-mail: email@example.com