Disease in Christina's World diagnosed

Neurologist solves medical mystery trapped in US painting depicting a sick woman

New York: A neurologist has finally deciphered the mysterious disease that led to the death of the woman depicted in one of the world’s most famous paintings in the US, ‘Christina’s World’, by Andrew Wyeth, depicts a young woman in a field, gazing at a farmhouse on an idyllic summer day.

The painting hangs in the Museum of Modern Art in New York
The painting hangs in the Museum of Modern Art in New York

The subject is Christina Olson, Wyeth’s good friend and neighbour. For most of her life, she suffered from a mysterious disorder which slowly took away her ability to walk.

Mayo Clinic child neurologist Marc Patterson has said it is likely she had an early-onset form of Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease — a group of inherited disorders that affect the peripheral nerves.

"This painting has long been a favourite of mine and the question of Christina’s ailment was an intriguing medical mystery,” he added.

 

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