Neurological Sciences

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 427–428 | Cite as

Was the subject portrayed in “A Man” by Cornelis Anthonisz around 1530 really affected by progressive supranuclear palsy?

  • Maurizio Morelli
  • Aldo QuattroneEmail author
Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

In June 1963, J. Clifford Richardson, John C. Steele, and Jerzy Olszewski presented the first clinical report of eight cases who showed supranuclear ophthalmoplegia, pseudobulbar palsy, nuchal dystonia, and dementia. The following year, they published the first comprehensive clinicopathological description of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) [1]. In an extensive bibliography survey, Brusa and colleagues [2] found that there were descriptions of PSP before 1963. In 1889, Adolphe Dutil presented the first photographs of a woman with habitus strongly suggestive of PSP [3]. During one of the famous Tuesday lessons (June 12, 1888), Jean-Martin Charcot showed a man, named Bachère, who had typical signs of PSP [3]. Larner proposed the intriguing hypothesis that the first description of PSP was unconsciously made by Charles Dickens in 1857 [4].

Recently, LeWitt hypothesized that the subject in the portrait “A Man” painted by Cornelis Anthonisz around 1530 (Fig. 1) may have...



The authors would like to thank the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum (Detroit, MI, USA) for the precious collaboration.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


  1. 1.
    Steele JC, Richardson JC, Olszewski J (1964) Progressive supranuclear palsy. A heterogeneous degeneration involving the brain stem, basal ganglia and cerebellum with vertical gaze and pseudobulbar palsy, nuchal dystonia and dementia. Arch Neurol 10:333–359. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Brusa A, Stoehr R, Pramstaller PP (2004) Progressive supranuclear palsy: new disease or variant of postencephalitic parkinsonism? Mov Disord 19:247–252. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Goetz CG (1996) An early photographic case of probable progressive supranuclear palsy. Mov Disord 11:617–618. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Larner AJ (2002) Did Charles Dickens describe progressive supranuclear palsy in 1857? Mov Disord 17:832–833. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    LeWitt P (2017) Portrayal of progressive supranuclear palsy in the 16th century. Lancet Neurol 16:956–957. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Galassi FM, Galassi G (2015) Teofilo Folengo’s facial paralysis and unknown demise. Neurol Sci 36:1961–1962. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia S.r.l., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Neurology, Department of Medical and Surgical SciencesMagna Graecia UniversityCatanzaroItaly
  2. 2.Neuroimaging Research UnitInstitute of Molecular Bioimaging and Physiology, National Research CouncilCatanzaroItaly
  3. 3.Neuroscience CentreMagna Graecia UniversityCatanzaroItaly

Personalised recommendations