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Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) and rheumatoid arthritis

Journal of Medical Biography
SAGE Publications
Publication Date
  • History & Philosophy Of Science


Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), one of the world's most celebrated impressionist painters, suffered from rheumatoid arthritis for most of his life. His symptoms developed when he was in his 50s and they became aggressive at about the age of 60 years that led to almost complete disability when he was 70 years old. Although the deformities he suffered because of the rheumatoid arthritis were disabling, Renoir never stopped painting nor decreased the quality of his work. The transition between styles adopted by the painter (Impressionist, Dry and Pearly periods) bear no relationship to the stages of flare-ups or the establishment of joint deformities due to rheumatoid arthritis. His work shows aspects of the body's ability to overcome pain and physical limitation.

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