The painter Raphael did not die of syphilis, but a coronavirus

Le peintre Raphaël n'est pas mort de la syphilis, mais d’un coronavirus

Raphael developed a fever and suffering from a “disease of type coronavirus” died after he failed to tell his doctors that he would secretly visit his conquests by freezing nights, which has led them to prescribe wrong blood, says a new study dedicated to the master of the Renaissance.

A myth is that the painter, which is this year celebrating the 500th anniversary of the death, has died in 1520, at only 37 years of age, with syphilis after having courted a lady too. The experts agree that it has succumbed to an infection.

The fever which has struck down the prolific painter and architect was healed by “the best doctors in Rome, sent by the pope,” who feared to lose this artist invaluable, said to AFP, the historian of medicine Michele Augusto Riva.

According to the Italian painter Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574) and his masterpiece “the Lives of The best painters, sculptors and architects” dedicated to the lives of the painters, Raphael failed to talk to the doctors of his time, of his “frequent nights out in the cold”, to visit his lovers.

“It was a lot colder in march at this time, and it is very likely that he caught pneumonia,” said Mr Riva.

The doctors have diagnosed her with a fever caused by an “excess of humors” or blood, and have therefore taken the bled – through incisions or leeches – which have fatally weakened the artist, child prodigy part of the trio of masters of the Renaissance, with michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.

Raphael was right to his death in grand funeral in the Vatican. His mortal remains rest in the Pantheon in Rome where a red rose adorns his grave throughout the year 2020, marking the half-millennium of its disappearance.

“At this time, the doctors were aware of the dangers of bloodletting in the treatment of infectious diseases, but they acted on the basis of false information”, said Mr Riva, who has co-authored the study with three colleagues, researchers from the university of Milan Bicocca.

“A medical error, and her error in telling not accurately reflect its history, have contributed to the death of Raphael”, he said.

The researchers had prepared a short study, which was published this week in the journal Internal and Emergency Medicine, before COVID-19 seized the north of Italy at the end of February.

“Based on what we know, Raphael died of a lung disease very similar to the coronavirus that we know today,” he said.

Of the contemporary accounts of his death indicate that the disease “painter’s lasted 15 days, Raphael was sufficiently calm to put his affairs in order, confess his sins and receive the last sacraments”, according to the study. It indicates that it was an acute disease, characterized by a high fever and continues.

“A sexually transmitted infection recent – such as gonorrhoea and syphilis – could not explain the incubation period”. “A manifestation of acute viral hepatitis could not be seen without jaundice and other signs of hepatic insufficiency. No epidemic of typhus, or of plague has not been reported in the city of Rome at this time,” the study says.

Despite his early death, Raphael produced a large quantity of major works, of which a large part is the Vatican, whose museums include several rooms full of frescoes.

Completed by the students of Raphael after his death, these rooms called “Rooms of Raphael” remain among the most popular of the Vatican museums.

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